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Panel gives Andhra Pradesh special status hopes

Posted February 4th, 2020, 10:35 AM IST

Panel gives Andhra Pradesh special status hopes

n Reddy.

HYDERABAD: The 15th Finance Commission has kindled hope in Andhra Pradesh that the state may, after all, get special category status (SCS), as assured by the Centre in Parliament when the undivided AP was bifurcated.

The Centre had all these days been taking shelter under the 14th Finance Commission report as an excuse for denying SCS to AP. However, the 15th Finance Commission has clearly said in its report that the Centre can take a decision in granting SCS to any state.. In Paragraph 7.4 of the 7th chapter of the report, the Commission says, “Some states have requested special category status. This does not constitute part of the mandate of 15th Finance Commission and remains entirely in the domain of the Union government, which can take an appropriate decision”.

The concluding lines indicate that the Centre can indeed grant SCS to Andhra Pradesh “if it so desires”.

All political parties have been demanding special status for AP for more than five years. AP Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, before and after the Assembly polls, said his government will bring pressure on the Centre for SCS.

Whether or not the Centre grants SCS, the Finance Commission has given a weapon to the YSRC to pressurise the Centre on the issue. The Centre now cannot continue saying that the 14th Finance Commission had made no mention of SCS, because the 15th Finance Commission has mentioned it.

Incidentally, the 15th Finance Commission has also given ammunition to Opposition parties in AP for attacking the YSRC on the special status issue. Since it leaves the matter with the Centre, the Opposition parties may take up cudgels against the ruling party for its failure in bringing pressure on the Centre if it does not secure the SCS.