AP CM rises special category status at NITI Aayog meet Focuses on step-motherly attitude towards performing states
AP CM rises special category status at NITI Aayog meet Focuses on step-motherly attitude towards performing states

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu led the other non-BJP states in raising centre-state relations, how they were being adversely affected by the terms of reference of the 15 Finance Commission and several state-specific issues, at the governing council meeting of the NITI Aayog at Delhi on Sunday.

Naidu, who spoke first since the states are arranged in alphabetical order, also raised the all too important issue of special category status  and how the state was affected because of its denial by the centre and, the unhelpful attitude of the centre in funding Amaravati.

The Chief Minister also raised  Polavaram, the life line of the state and how its construction was being delayed because of release of funds in fits and starts by the centre which has to take full responsibility for its completion since it is a national project.

The chief minster brought to the notice of the NITI Aayog how compensation for the loss of Rs.16,000 crore to the state at the time of the bifurcation of the state is still hanging fire. The revenue deficit has not yet been fully covered because of deferring perceptions on how much exactly is the deficit.

Naidu, who felt hurt over the centre first crediting Rs. 350 crore to the state account for use for development of backward districts, and then reversing it, also reminded it its responsibility  in hand-holding the state in spurring economic activity in the backward districts.

Naidu also reminded the Prime Minister, who is also the chairman of NITI Aayog, to bear in mind that he too was once chief minister of a state and when it comes to helping a state, he should visualise the problems the state faced.

Naidu raised national issues like the effects of demonetisation and the roll out of GST which had in fact proved to be retrogressive in nature. He wanted measures to reverse the ill-effects and thus help the people at large with lesser doses of taxation. The chief minister exhorted the prime minister to build a Team India in a true spirit of cooperative federalism.

Though the other chief ministers too spoke, it was Bihar Chief Minister who supported AP's demand for special category status while West Bengal Chief Minister wanted the centre to set right the anomaly in the terms of reference of the 15th Finance Commission.