Hyderabad: Union Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu, who faced criticism from certain quarters over the Centre’s Special Assistance Measure for AP, on Sunday said the Centre had no alternative except to come out with a major package when it was found that granting special category status was not possible due to various reasons.
Explaining the various aspects for over an hour, Mr Venkaiah Naidu said that without the Centre’s financial assistance, it would not be possible for new states to sustain themselves. Keeping this in view, the Centre had taken the decision to treat AP as a special case and had announced a series of financial packages.
Mr Venkaiah Naidu said, “These critics make noise without going through what is there in the AP Reorganisation Act, how a number of provisions were made in the Act without giving any commitment to the projects. They want to make political comments to which I will not bother to react.”
He denied saying that special category status would not bring any benefits. He said it was a fact that special status would give certain benefits to a state. But when it was found that the 14th Finance Commission did not recommend it, the Union Cabinet debated for days and approved the special assistance package for Andhra Pradesh to fulfil its commitment, he said.
He said that the Centre and Prime Minister Narender Modi had given instructions to ensure that AP benefited more from the special package that it would with special status.
The Union minister said that never in history had a state been granted Rs 2.50 lakh crore within two years of its formation. “I agree that special status would enhance Central assistance from 60 per cent to 90 per cent, but we are giving more than that. Central government establishments, premier educational institutions, industrial corridors are not possible if special status is granted. We believe the people of AP will understand all these,” Mr Venkaiah Naidu said.
He said that it was giving special assistance to Andhra Pradesh as it lost Hyderabad, the Centre was also helping out a number of states including Telangana state with special projects and funds.
“Mr Modi came to Gajwel and announced all help to Telangana state. The AP Reorganisation Act only mandated holding a feasibility study to establish steel factories in Kadapa and Bayyaram in Telangana state. The study concluded stating it was not feasible, but we have ordered a fresh study. There are several lacunae in the Act but we are committed to development and will somehow fulfil our obligations,” Mr Venkaiah Naidu said.