Why is Special Category Status important for Andhra Pradesh?
Ans: A growing pressure
for Special Category Status in Andhra Pradesh has led to State-wide protests,
and heated debates in Parliament. Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu met Prime
Minister NarendraModi several times to press for the SCS in the past.
What is Special Category
does not include any provision for categorisation of any State in India as a
Special Category Status (SCS) State. But, recognising that some regions in the
country were historically disadvantaged in contrast to others, Central plan
assistance to SCS States has been granted in the past by the erstwhile Planning
Commission body, National Development Council (NDC). The NDC granted this
status based on a number of features of the States which included: hilly and
difficult terrain, low population density or the presence of sizeable tribal
population, strategic location along international borders, economic and
infrastructural backwardness and non-viable nature of State finances.
What kind of
assistance do SCS States receive?
The SCS States
used to receive block grants based on the Gadgil-Mukherjee formula, which
effectively allowed for nearly 30 per cent of the Total Central Assistance to
be transferred to SCS States as late as 2009-10.
constitution of the NITI Aayog (after the dissolution of the Planning
Commission) and the recommendations of the Fourteenth Finance Commission (FFC),
Central plan assistance to SCS States has been subsumed in an increased
devolution of the divisible pool to all States (from 32% in the 13th FC
recommendations to 42%) and do not any longer appear in plan expenditure. The
FFC also recommended variables such as “forest cover” to be included in
devolution, with a weightage of 7.5 in the criteria and which could benefit
north-eastern States that were previously given SCS assistance. Besides,
assistance to Centrally Sponsored Schemes for SCS States was given with 90%
Central share and 10% State share.
States are seeking SCS status?
Andhra Pradesh which is in the news lately, Bihar and Odisha had recently
demanded SCS status but they have not been granted the same as they did not
meet the criteria.
What is the
basis of AP’s claim?
bifurcation of A.P., Andhra lost a large volume of its revenue due to Hyderabad
remaining the capital of Telangana. In a debate in the RajyaSabha on the A.P.
Reorganisation Act on February 20, 2014, then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had
said that SCS would be “extended to the Successor State of Andhra Pradesh …
for a period of five years.” This oral submission by the then PM has been the
basis for A.P.’s claim to the status.
What has been the Centre’s
In a reply to a
TDP MP’s question in Parliament on this claim, then Minister of State for
Finance JayantSinha had said in April 2016 that the Centre had no proposal to
modify the criteria for SCS status. And that the increased devolution as
recommended by the FFC (which included revenue deficit grants following the
bifurcation) is already flowing to the State.
Rahul ready to
grant SCS to AP
President Rahul Gandhi said that his party will grant special category status
to Andhra Pradesh if voted to power in the upcoming general elections. Gandhi,
who was in the UAE on a two-day visit, addressed a gathering of Indian workers
at the Labour Colony in Dubai.
“As soon as
our government comes to power, we will give special status to Andhra
Pradesh,” Gandhi said.