Amaravati (Andhra Pradesh) [India], Mar. 7 (ANI): Following Finance Minister Arun Jaitley's statement on granting 'special status' to Andhra Pradesh, the state's agriculture minister S Chandra Mohan Reddy claimed that even after nearly two years of promising special assistance, nothing has been done for the state.
"After the bifurcation bill was passed in 2016, Jaitley had categorically expressed before media that special assistance measures were earmarked for Andhra Pradesh. However, even after one and a half years, they have done nothing, and that is why people are agitating," Reddy told ANI.
Drawing a parallel between Andhra Pradesh and the North East, Reddy took on the Centre for lack of assistance to the former's state.
"You (Centre) are not implementing special assistance measures or according to special status for Andhra Pradesh, whereas, for the 11 north-eastern states, special category status and benefits are being continued for another 10 years," he said.
Earlier in the day, Jaitley had said that the Centre is committed to offering the monetary equivalent of this status to the state, which will be presented as a 'special package.'
"The Centre stands committed to satisfy every condition. The only variation is that after the 14th Finance Commission report, instead of formally calling it a Special Category state, we are calling it a special package, which gives the same monetary benefits that a special category state gives you," he said at a press conference in the national capital.
However, Jaitley ruled out the possibility of political turmoil in the state resulting in an increase in the quantum of funds to be given.
On a related note, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its Andhra ally Telugu Desam Party (TDP) have been sharing a sour relationship following the announcement of the Union Budget 2018-19 after the latter alleged that the Centre had not allotted 'enough fund' to the state in the budget. (ANI)