Hyderabad: Upping the ante on the Special Category Status for Andhra Pradesh, Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has taken the battle directly to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's door asking him to intervene into the matter on a priority basis.
In a strong-worded letter to Prime Minister, Reddy highlighted the state of confusion in the Ministry of Finance in understanding the Terms of Reference (ToR) of the 15th Finance Commission and reminded him that the Special Category Status (SCS) issue falls under the ambit of Union Government.
“Some states have requested for the grant of special category status. This doesn’t constitute part of the mandate of the 14th finance commission and remains entirely in the domain of the Union Government, which can take an appropriate decision after due consideration,” he said quoting the observation of the 14th financial commission.
Reddy said that there is a definite inconsistency between the stand taken by the Ministry of Finance and the stand taken by the 15th finance commission. “People of Andhra Pradesh remain hapless victims of this unfortunate scenario. Prime Minister should intervene into the matter on priority basis”, he said.
Chief Minister also made mention as to how the Union Government had cited the finance commission report to deny SCS for the state.
“The State Government has requested the 15th finance commission to view the plea for grant of the status, favourably. Finance Commission has taken a view that it was beyond its purview to consider recommending the grant of special category status (SCS) to any State”, he said
Highlighting the observations made by N K Singh, Chairman 15th finance commission, he reproduced the exact words of his October 2018 media interaction. “It would be a transgression of the Presidential notification by the Commission if it considers the issue of the special category status (SCS), as it doesn’t figure in its Terms of Reference (ToR). Philosophy of SCS never emanated from any Finance Commission, but from the resolution of the erstwhile National Development Council,” he said quoting Singh.
Urging Prime Minister Narendra Modi to address the issue of SCS on a priority basis, he said it would help Andhra Pradesh to overcome the financial burdens.