Dealing a big blow to Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy’s dream of getting Special Category Status (SCS) for the state as he promised in his election campaign, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman Monday said in Lok Sabha that there was no proposal under consideration of the Central government to grant SCS to any state.
Replying to an unstarred question by MP Kaushalendra Kumar whether the Centre was considering the demand of Bihar and Andhra Pradesh as genuine are not, Nirmala said that the Centre was receiving requests for SCS from Odisha, Rajasthan, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Jharkhand, and Chattisgarh.
“SCS for plan assistance has been granted in the party by the National Development Council to some states that are charactarised by a number of features necessitating special consideration. These features include hilly and difficult terrain, low population density or the presence of sizeable tribal population, strategic location along international borders, economic and infrastructural backwardness and non-viable nature of State finances. SCS for plan assistance to any state has been granted based on an integrated consideration of these criteria. However, there is no proposal under consideration of the Central Government to grant of Special Category Status. The SCS for plan assistance granted by National Development Council does not provide for any special measure for growth of industries,” she said.
The Union Finance Minister’s reply is a big set back for the Andhra CM who has been reiterating that he would go to New Delhi as many times as possible to get SCS for Andhra Pradesh.
In fact, a day before the Parliament session began, Jagan met the YSR Congress Parliamentary Party in New Delhi and told his 22 Lok Sabha and 2 Rajya Sabha MPs that should do everything they can to put pressure on the Centre to grant SCS to AP. “Voters elected 22 of you as MPs and they expect that you will fight for SCS in Parliament. Raise the issue of promises made to AP in the AP Reorganisation Act, 2014. Ask them why the promises made in the Parliament are not being fulfilled,’’ he told the MPs.
However, the reply given by Nirmala Sitharaman today clearly saying no to SCS, has dampened the spirits of YSRCP camp.