Special Category Status – Perhaps this term must now have become the buzz word of every household in Andhra. Post bifurcation of the once united AP, Andhra has largely been subjected to heavy disadvantages and losses as compared to the state of Telangana.
While losing Hyderabad as its capital has affected the way forward for the new state, several other critical issues have also cropped up during the last two years of rebuilding. The state has heavily suffered a revenue deficit, and was not granted the privileges that were promised by the ruling government in the last election. The result – promise of granting the Special Status Category hung in mid air while AP battled severely with all the wrong manifestations.
Things have taken a new tangent, after the Centre had announced the special package instead of granting the SCS status. Candidly put, majority of the state,, including the CM do not look satisfied with this announcement. For all practical purposes, the proposed package shows that centre will do an extensive hand holding on some of the most important projects.
Realistically put, the state still qualities for a Special Category Status. Here is why
Special Category Status is Granted to States with Non Viable Finances
The financial condition of the new state of Andhra Pradesh had been extremely volatile and down low ever since reorganization – major projects that need heavy funding and the challenge to build a competent capital city in the new base. This way, finances will be an ongoing issue, right until the new state creates an economy of self sustenance and viability. Centre granting ‘pre-set’ budget is a very debatable option in the prevailing scenario.
SCS Should be Immediately Granted to States That Display Economic and Infrastructural Backwardness
Applying the basic economics here, the new AP is still backward in the areas of settled and commendable infrastructure. Even though the state govt administration is single handedly tackling the lapses with foreign investors and plausible funding, the fact that development from ground up will take several years cannot be undermined. Yes, Andhra is known for established ports and industries, but as an independent state, there is a lot of impending work that actually brings the economic dynamics to a healthy threshold.
Centre bears 90% Expenduiture For Special Category States
Given that there is a mountain’s workload ahead, what with the building of Amaravati (now pitted at the budget of Rs 15,000 Cr by the Centre), the state will need next level of money inflow in this scenario. Andhra’s biggest deficiency now is the lack of capital city, confirmed infrastructure and industries. Centre has to go beyond the 15k Cr tab.
AP Qualifies Hands Down After Raghuram Rajan’s 2013 Committee in Force
It has to be remembered that a special committee was appointed by Ex Governor Raghuram Rajan in 2013 following Bihar’s demand for Special category Status. This committee had already suggested that any state or states that request for this status will be the ones who need special attention more adequately than those operating in the regular scenarios.
On a lighter vein, SCS is also granted to the hilly terrains. We have those aplenty.