The Centre will very soon take steps to start operationalising the special economic package announced for Andhra Pradesh, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Friday. Addressing a public meeting after laying the foundation-stone for the administrative city in the state’s new capital Amaravati, Jaitley said the Centre will grant Rs 2.03 lakh crore in five years to the state through the Finance Commission alone.
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“We are giving thousands and thousands of crores to Andhra Pradesh for various projects which is equivalent, if not more, to the special category status,” Jaitley said and listed the projects the Centre has sanctioned to the state in the last two years.
“Chandrababu (Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu), you are credited with creating Hyderabad into a modern city and now you have the same opportunity in Amaravati. I am confident in due course Amaravati will become the finest city in India,” the Union finance minister said.
“In this task, you are not alone and the Government of India will support you to the hilt,” he said. Terming as unprecedented the act of farmers in the Amaravati region giving away their lands (33,000 acres) under the land pooling scheme for the capital development, Jaitley said “we (AP and the Centre) will together bring smiles on each of these faces”.
On the state government’s request for exemption of capital gains tax on the sale of developed land in the capital region, Jaitley assured he will “sympathetically consider” and see that an early decision is taken in the matter. The Chief Minister, who was also present, said he settled for the Centre’s special development package to the state as special category status did not look possible.
Union Ministers M Venkaiah Naidu, P Ashok Gajapati Raju, Y S Chowdary, state Assembly Speaker Kodela Sivaprasada Rao, state ministers, MPs, MLAs and others attended the event. Besides the administrative city, Jaitley also laid the foundation-stone for RBI’s regional office building, storm water drainage system in Vijayawada city, underground drainage system in Guntur city and seven seed access roads to the capital city.
Earlier, the Chief Minister hosted lunch for Jaitley at the Taj hotel here and discussed the Centre’s financial assistance to the state. Naidu wanted “legislative backing” to the special development package announced on September 7.
Prior to that, the state BJP felicitated Jaitley at a separate function for having granted the special development package to Andhra Pradesh.