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No Spl Status to AP: Centre reiterates

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Centre has no plans to modify the criteria evolved to accord special category status to a state. Rao Inderjit Singh who created commotion by stating this in Lok Sabha during last session, has put it on paper now.

In a letter written to Nalgonda MP Gutha Sukhender Reddy, Rao Inderjit Singh, minister of state for planning, reiterated centre’ stand. “Special category status for plan assistance has been granted in the past by the National Development Council (NDC) to some states that are characterized by a number of features necessitating special consideration. These features include” 1. hilly and difficult terrain 2. low population density or sizeable share of tribal population 3. strategic location along the borders with neighbouring counties 4. economic and infrastructural backwardness and 5. non-viable nature of state finances,” he minister said.

Stating that centre had received requests for according special category status from Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan , Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Telangana and Jharkhan, Rao Inderjit Singh said,” At present there is no proposal to modify the criteria for grant of special category status.”

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Jagan exhorts students to fight for special status

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YSRCP president and Opposition leader in Assembly YS Jaganmohan Reddy, who is on a mission to build a Telangana-like students movement for achieving special status today called upon the students in Vizag to fight for the special status. This is his second interaction with students in a program called “Yuva Bheri” the first being with the students of SV University. Reiterating his oft repeated slogan that no special status means no jobs and no future. ” Special status is the only hope for getting jobs. Chandrababu Naidu is not able to fight for the special status for political reasons. The reason is to save his skin from the cash-for-vote scam case. Chandrababu Naidu had attempted to buy Telangana MLAs with the money he took as bribe from the projects like Pattiseema and got caught red-handedly while offering money. To bail himself out of this case, Naidu had to crawl before the NDA government. He sold out the interests of the state for his personal gains,” Jagan said.

To cover up his sell out to centre, Jagan said, Naidu was preaching that Special Status was not panacea and 14th finance commission was opposed to it etc. According to Jagan the 14 th finance commission had nothing to with special status. In the past 15 months, Jagan said, not a single job had been offered in the state and on the other hand many contract employees were losing their jobs. With special status alone Andhra could become number one state and enter the orbit of development and job creation.

“There are nearly 1.42 lakh vacancies in government. There are about 5,000 jobs in the universities. Chandrabu Naidu doesn’t want to fill up these vacancies. Because, he has devised a plan to undermine the universities and encourage the private universities. The students, who appeared for the DSC have no chance of getting the teacher posts,” he said painting a gloomy picture about the job scenario in Andhra Pradesh. He exhorted the student who attended the Yuva Bheri to question Chandrababu Naidu about the special status to Andhra Pradesh.

” He doesn’t fight for the special status. We have to build a movement and exert pressure on the centre to get the special status accorded to the state. Then only we will get the ample job opportunities,” Jagan said.

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Doors close on special status?

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The coveted number two position of Andhra Pradesh with respect to the ease in doing business among the 32 state and union territories appears to have closed the doors for the state to demand the special category state (SCS) status once for all. The new rank, the result of the study done by World Bank Group in association with the CII and FICCI and audited by KPMG, has certainly made Andhra Pradesh a difficult case for the SCS.

The rank is given based on the studies of certain indicators which play crucial role in starting a business in India. The indicators are: setting up a business, getting electricity, allotment of land and obtaining construction permit, complying with environment procedures, complying with labour regulations, obtaining infrastructure related utilities, registering and complying with tax procedures, carrying out inspections and enforcing contracts etc. Coupled with massive projects underway such as World Class capital, coastal corridors, an airport in every district, string of ports along 900km-long coast make the SCS a far cry for AP.

If we take the criteria the National Development Council, the authority that accords special category status, follows to declare a state as SCS, the new rank Andhra Pradesh achieved has made the state most unlikely candidate for SCS.

The criteria for according SCS include:
(i) hilly and difficult terrain,
(ii) low population density and/or sizable share of tribal population,
(iii) strategic location along borders with neighboring countries,
(iv) economic and infrastructural backwardness, and
(v) non-viable nature of state finances.

According to a “Report of the committee for evolving a composite development index of states” (2013) of ministry of finance, government of India, states under this category have a low resource base and are not in a position to mobilize resources for their developmental needs even though the per capita income of some of these states is relatively high.

As on today the states which have been accorded special Category States are Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, Tripura and Uttarakhand.

Andhra with strong investment-attractive features and resource base may not pass the muster for the SCS despite war bugle sounded by opposition leader Jagan and other opposition parties. The positive investment environment might be the reason for Modi government’s silence on bestowing the SCS on Andhra Pradesh.

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House adopts spl-status resolution after a bitter fight

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Andhra Pradesh Assembly today witnessed unprecedented bitterness between the ruling and opposition sides with both sides hurling challenges and counter challenges about their character. The downside of the debate is the involvement of leader of the house and opposition leader in this un-parliamentary war of words. Both of them washed their dirty linen in the house to the embarrassment of the public. While the debate was meant for getting special status to the state, the arguments were about who was more corrupt and dishonest. Normally, while leaders watch, members of the respective sides fight. Today in AP assembly, the responsibility of converting the house into the theater of unwholesome accusations was taken over by opposition leader Jagan and leader of the house Chandrababu Naidu equally. They excelled each other in the drama.

Jagan said Naidu’s name appeared 22 times in the ACB charge-sheet and Naidu retorted that a man, who presents himself every Friday before CBI court in 15 cases, had no right to talk about him. Ultimately, the debate on the special category status to state produced more heat than light. The resolution urging the centre to bestow the special status was adopted at 2.40 PM.

After one adjournment this morning for 15 minutes, the house reassembled at 10.30 am. And speaker asked the CM to make the statement of special status which was inconclusive yesterday. Following is the time line of the proceedings of AP Assembly.

10.30 am : Chief Minister Naidu begins his statement in on Special Category Status to the State.

10.36 am : Leader of Opposition YS Jaganmohan Reddy raises objection to Naidu’s speech and says CMs speech does not match with the note circulated in the House.

10. 46 am : Fierce exchange of accusatins takes place between Jagan and on the note on Special Category Status.

10.48 am : Naidu grills Jagan by stating that he can an understand predicament of first-timers (Jagan is a first-time MLA) in the Assembly in coming to grips with his statement.

11.25 am : Naidu expresses willingness to resolve the contentious issues between his Government and the Telangana State through a dialogue.

11.50 am : Jaganmohan Reddy starts debate Chandrababu Naidu’s statement. He provokes Naidu by commenting that the CM was unaware of several facts related to State bifurcation. He calls Naidu outdated politician.

12.15 pm : Jagan says giving Special Category Status is Union Cabinet’s prerogative, but in case of A.P. it has not materialized though it is essentially an executive decision

1.00 pm : War of words intensifies in the House. Verbal dual between Opposition Leader Jaganmohan Reddy and TDP/BJP MLA ensues.

1.00 pm : TDP MLA Dhulipalla Narendra takes objection to Jagan’s calling chief minister Naidu an outdated political leader. YSRCP MLAs rush towards Dhulipalla and TDP MLAs also try to enter the well. They pushes and shoved each other.

1.10 pm. : Chief Minister asks TDP MLAs to resume their seats and behave properly. He pleads his flock to ignore unparliamentarily comments by some people.

1. 15 pm : CM laments that “I was not given mike while in the Opposition, but we did not behave this way ( of Jagan).

1.20 pm : Social welfare minister Ravela Kishore Babu raises Jagan’s wealth t and asks him to give back to society the Rs 1 lakh crore Jagan allegedly amassed.

1.21 pm : Ravela says they will give the Mike to Jagan for speaking on special category status if he returned the money. Many others said Jagan had colluded with TRS government in Telangana. He wrote a letter to TRS recommending somebody to make an MLA. He met Harish Rao also in a Hotel. They said Jagan was behaving as if he was in Telangana. He never defended the TDP government when AP telephones tapped.

1.22 pm : Jagan says he will resign if they prove the charges against him. 1.30 pm. : Jagan asks CM to give Centre time frame of a month or 15 days to accord Special Category Status. Naidu was not able to fight because he compromised with centre on cash-for-vote scam.

1.40 pm : Chandrababu Naidu nobody can harm him. “Your father also took cases against to Supreme Court. Nothing had happened. You also can’t do anything against me. I am like fire.

The same continued till 2.40 when the resolution was tabled for the approval of the House. It was approved and the speaker adjourned the House till tomorrow.

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Special Status suicides spread in Andhra

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The dreaded disease of killing oneself in the name of special status appears to be becoming endemic ​in Andhra Pradesh. On Thursday, two people committed suicide for the sake of special category status to Andhra Pradesh, taking the toll to five since Muni Koti committed self-immolation in Tirupati on August 10.

On Thursday while a 55-year old Ramisetty Laxmaiah hanged himself in Vedayapalem in Nellore district with a suicide note, a youth by name Rajasekhar from Chintalapudi, East Godavari district committed suicide​ expressing disappointment over the denial of special status. With this the number of suicides reached to three after CM-Modi meeting failed to reassure people on the much talked about special category status to Andhra Pradesh. Also, on Wednesday, Chavali Subbarao, an electrician from Pamarru, took his life for the​ same cause of special status.
This type disturbing trend is unheard of in Seemaandhra region while Telangana witnessed a spate of suicides of youth during the T-movement. Political heat and undue stress the parties are laying on the special status as if there is no life without special status seems to be working on these innocent public who are already neck-deep in the poverty. It is high time the political parties stopped dubbing the special status as​ the sole savior of Andhra Pradesh and stop playing with emotions of people.

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Sections 46, 90 and 94 : What do they offer to AP?

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The Centre reiterated its commitment to implement Section 46, Section 90 and Section 94 of Andhra Pradesh Reorganization Act -2014, to help the recover from what finance minister Arun Jaitley called “broken development”.

This was the commitment given to chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu by Prime Minister Narendra Modi when they both met this morning in 7, RCR New Delhi. The meeting took place in the backdrop of Prime Minister’s Bihar package worth Rs 1.25 lakh crore and the growing resentment in the state over the denial of special status to Andhra Pradesh, and TDP’s inability extract this from NDA government in which TDP is an ally.

Arun Jaitley said Centre would ask the NITI Ayog to prepare the road map for the implementation of
Section 46, Section 90 and Section 94 of APR Act-2014 . What are these Sections? These sections deal with the distribution of Revenue(Sec 46), Polavaram project (Sec.90) and assistance to capital development, backward areas and fiscal measures including tax incentives (Sec 94).

Distribution of revenue.

Section 46. (1) The award made by the Thirteenth Finance Commission to the existing State of Andhra Pradesh shall be apportioned between the successor States by the Central Government on the basis of population ratio and other parameters: Provided that on the appointed day, the President shall make a reference to the Fourteenth Finance Commission to take into account the resources available to the successor States and make separate awards for each of the successor States. (2) Notwithstanding anything in sub-section (1), the Central Government may, having regard to the resources available to the successor State of Andhra Pradesh, make appropriate grants and also ensure that adequate benefits and incentives in the form of special development package are given to the backward areas of that State. (3) The Central Government shall, while considering the special development package for the successor State of Andhra Pradesh, provide adequate incentives, in particular for Rayalaseema and north coastal regions of that State.

Polavaram

Section 90. (1) The Polavaram Irrigation Project is hereby declared to be a national project. (2) It is hereby declared that it is expedient in the public interest that the Union should take under its control the regulation and development of the Polavaram Irrigation Project for the purposes of irrigation. (3) The consent for Polavaram Irrigation Project shall be deemed to have been given by the successor State of Telangana. (4) The Central Government shall execute the project and obtain all requisite clearances including environmental, forests, and rehabilitation and resettlement norms. 91. (1) The Governments of the successor States of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana shall replace the existing State of Andhra Pradesh on the Tungabhadra Board. (2) The Tungabhadra Board shall continue to monitor the release of water to High Level Canal, Low Level Canal and Rajolibanda Diversion Scheme.

Fiscal measures including tax incentives

Section 94. (1) The Central Government shall take appropriate fiscal measures, including offer of tax incentives, to the successor States, to promote industrialization and economic growth in both the States. (2) The Central Government shall support the programs for the development of backward areas in the successor States, including expansion of physical and social infrastructure. (3) The Central Government shall provide special financial support for the creation of essential facilities in the new capital of the successor State of Andhra Pradesh including the Raj Bhawan, High Court, Government Secretariat, Legislative Assembly, Legislative Council, and such other essential infrastructure. (4) The Central Government shall facilitate the creation of a new capital for the successor State of Andhra Pradesh, if considered necessary, by de-notifying degraded forest land.

Naidu presenting shawl and Tirupati Laddu to union home minister Rajnath Singh
(File Photo : Naidu presenting shawl and Tirupati Laddu to union home minister Rajnath Singh. The implementation of these sections is the responsibility of the union ministry of home affairs)

The implementation of these provision will take place after the NITI Ayog prepares road map in consultation with the state government officials.

 

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