The high drama of Centre arriving at the Special Package ended on Wednesday when Union Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley finally made the announcement in the night. As contemplated, the Centre has striven to offer the best it can for the new state of Andhra Pradesh. While CM Sri N Chandrababu Naidu took a firm stance on Special Category for the state, the announcement that has been made by the Central Government almost allows same treatment, but sans the SCS category.
The complete details of the package will be uploaded by the Finance Ministry today on the website http://finmin.nic.in. However, here is the brief overview of what will be offered:
1. Complete financial assistance to the completion of Polavaram project while the state will take charge of construction. The estimated monetary assistance from the Centre will be Rs 28,000 Cr towards the project.
2. The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) will be issuing two specific notifications on tax concessions being extended to A.P.
3. On the new Railway Zone issue, Mr. Jaitley said that it would be dealt with by his colleague and Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu. The location for the new Railway Zone has not yet been declared. Vijayawada is still the first choice of the Centre but the outcome needs to be arrived at.
4. Rs 20,000 Cr towards the development of ports.
5. Rs 25,000 Cr towards the development of roads, and this includes National Highways that fall in the state’s geography.
6. Rs 15,000 Cr towards the building of new capital Amaravati.
7. Rs 30,000 Cr towards externally aided projects, and this will include critical ones such as Metro Rail.
8. Rs 25,000 Cr towards the development of Universities
9. Rs 12,000 Cr towards the development of industrial corridors.
The above package has been arrived at considering various sections in the AP Reorganization Act, recommendations by 14th Finance Commission Report, oral commitment made by the Prime Minister in 2014 and Niti Ayog recommendations in 2015.
The announcement is said to have been delayed because of constant changes suggested by Union Minister for State, Science and Technology, Mr Y S Chowdary. It is said that Chowdary was frequently updating the CM on phone with the details and took the necessary suggestions to negotiate further.