Hyderabad: Andhra Pradesh certainly qualifies for grant of Special Category State (SCS) status as per the current norms laid down by a key body, Finance Minister Yanamala Ramakrishnudu asserted on Monday, debunking claims of the Planning Commission which feels otherwise.
"Andhra Pradesh qualifies for special status as per Part 4 and 5 of the Gadgil-Mukherjee formula (approved by National Development Council).
"Moreover, Special Category State status was promised by the (then) Prime Minister in the Rajya Sabha. It is not for the Planning Commission to take a call on that, he told PTI.
Part 4 of the Gadgil-Mukherjee formula stipulates a state that is "financially disabled" and "lacking in infrastructure facilities" is qualified for SCS status.
"The new state does not even have a capital city. It will take 20 years to build a new capital city," he said.
According to Part 5, the financial condition of the state should be "discouraging" (to get the status)".
"The new state has a Rs 15,900 crore deficit budget to begin with," the Finance Minister noted.
SCS status would enable Andhra Pradesh get 90 per cent of Plan funds from the Centre in the form of grant and the balance 10 per cent as loan.
The Commission last week claimed Andhra Pradesh cannot be accorded the status of special category state to provide extra Central aid under the current norms.
"Andhra Pradesh does not meet National Development Council criteria (for special category state)," it said in a presentation to Planning Minister Inderjit Singh Rao.
The Plan panel`s assertion was strongly objected to by not only the ruling Telugu Desam Party but also Opposition parties in the state.
"It was the Union Cabinet headed by then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh which had on March 2 directed the Planning Commission to accord special category status to Andhra Pradesh for five years. This was after he made an announcement in Rajya Sabha on February 21.
"The BJP, then in Opposition, not only supported it but also subsequently promised to extend it to ten years. We are now trying to get the SCS status for 15 years given the present condition of the State," Yanamala said.