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Biggest letdown

Biggest letdown
Highlights

The clouds are cleared. The hypocrisy is exposed. Political trickery is yet again in play. The brilliant lawyer in Finance Minister hides the political fallacy behind legal acumen. Irrational and illogical argumentation is dished out to deny Special Status to Andhra Pradesh. The arguments are completely fallacious.

The clouds are cleared. The hypocrisy is exposed. Political trickery is yet again in play. The brilliant lawyer in Finance Minister hides the political fallacy behind legal acumen. Irrational and illogical argumentation is dished out to deny Special Status to Andhra Pradesh. The arguments are completely fallacious.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that the constitutional framework of distributing finances has been changed by the 14th Finance Commission. The 14th Finance Commission’s report changed the earlier model of devolution of States share in the Centre’s tax pool.

That is making it difficult to give a ‘Special Status’ to AP. Jaitley sees unsubstantiated conflict between the recommendations of 14th Finance Commission and a Prime Minister’s assurance in Parliament. The proposal for Special Status is predicated upon bifurcation of the State.

The Article 4 of the Constitution of India allows for supplemental, incidental and consequential measures to tide over the exigencies created by the bifurcation of a State.

Parliament is fully aware that a Finance Commission will be constituted periodically, which suggests a formula for devolution of central resources. Yet, the Prime Minister assured the Special Status to AP in Parliament. All the political parties supported it.

It’s meaningless to see a conflict between the two now. In fact, the Prime Minister’s parliamentary assurance preceded the Finance Commission’s recommendations. Therefore, ignoring one for the other is an obnoxious logic.

Finance Minister’s promise to consider the requirements of the State beyond the provisions of the Act also is an empty rhetoric devoid of any concrete action plan. How can the people of Andhra Pradesh be satisfied with such an assurance when the specific statement of prime Minister on the floor of the House is unimplemented?

The united State of Andhra Pradesh was divided against the will of Seemandhra people. The residuary State of Andhra Pradesh lost the lucrative capital due to bifurcation. The State obviously suffers from the fiscal duress induced by bifurcation. Linking the concerns of Andhra Pradesh with the normal devolution plan applicable to any State is an erroneous assumption.

Jaitley’s repeated reference to the greater flow of funds to Andhra Pradesh owing to the new devolution plan of the 14th Finance Commission is oblivious of the circumstances in which the Special Status promise was sought and given. Surprisingly, Jaitley’s party and he personally were the architects of the Special Status demand.

If Finance Commission’s recommendations are so sacrosanct, why not the assurance of Prime Minister in regard to compensating the residuary State confronted by fiscal challenges induced by arbitrary bifurcation which the people of the region fiercely resisted.

The debate in Rajya Sabha revealed the facade of Centre’s claim that competitive demands of neighbouring States make it difficult for the Centre to concede the Special Status to Andhra Pradesh. Even Telangana did not raise any objection to the demand from Andhra Pradesh. The Centre’s refusal despite a political consensus is deplorable. Raking up technicalities is nothing but political chicanery.

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