The Andhra Pradesh Assembly on Tuesday unanimously passed a resolution urging the Centre to accord Special Category Status (SCS) to the state without any further delay.
Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy moved the resolution which was adopted by voice vote on the last day of the first session of the newly-elected Assembly.
Jagan Reddy said SCS was the state's lifeline and it alone could undo the injustices meted to the state by dividing the united Andhra Pradesh without taking into consideration the view of the majority of the people.
Jagan, as the Chief Minister is popularly known, said his government had to move the resolution as during the previous Telugu Desam Party (TDP) government the Assembly passed a resolution thanking the Centre for the special package announced in lieu of the SCS.
Jagan, who led his YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) to power last month, said the state needed the SCS and not a special package. He alleged that the previous government failed to safeguard the state's interests by agreeing to the special package.
The debate on the resolution was marred by an exchange of words between Jagan Reddy and Leader of Opposition N. Chandrababu Naidu, with the latter defending his stand saying he agreed to the special package only after he was assured by the Centre that the state would get the same benefits it would have received under the SCS.
Naidu said he visited New Delhi 29 times to take up the issue of the SCS but the Centre failed to fulfil its commitment.
Naidu said now that the YSRCP has won 22 of the 25 Lok Sabha seats, it should fight with the Centre for the SCS and assured the TDP's support for it.
Jagan, in his speech, pointed out that during the last five years the state's revenue deficit was Rs 66,362 crore -- three times more than the estimate by the 14th Finance Commission.
He said the state's debts, which stood at Rs 97,000 crore at the time of bifurcation, rose to over Rs 2.58 lakh crore in the last five years. The state is paying Rs 40,000 crore every year towards debt servicing including Rs 20,000 crore as interest.
He explained how the SCS alone could help the state to tide over the financial crisis and ensure its comprehensive development.
Jagan Reddy pointed out that the state was divided on the promise that the residuary state of Andhra Pradesh would be granted SCS. He wondered how Parliament could divide the state without fulfilling the promise made in the Parliament.
The Chief Minister brushed aside the claims that the Centre is not according SCS in view of the recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission.
He recalled that the Union Cabinet on March 2, 2014, passed a resolution approving SCS for Andhra Pradesh and the subsequent cabinet directed the Planning Commission to implement the decision. He said the previous state government failed to take up the issue with the Planning Commission. He said it was only after January 1, 2015 that the Planning Commission was dissolved and Niti Aayog was created.
On the demands for SCS by other states, Jagan said only Andhra Pradesh was divided by Parliament with the pre-condition that the residuary state will be accorded SCS to compensate it for the revenue losses.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)