An ardent observer, analyst and critic of politics and current happenings. Truly believes in human equality, and poor and peasants have first right on resources. Here are my reflections and collections, updated every week. Follow me on Twitter @nharshakumar
Friday, 29 July 2016
Arun Jaitley declines granting Special Category status to AP
On providing more funds to the state, the minister said that the central
government also had limited resources, and it is doing its best
IANS | New Delhi July 29, 2016 Last Updated at 17:44 IST
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Friday said the central government will handhold Andhra Pradesh till it recovers to a level from where it can progress on its own, but his assurance did not satisfy the opposition Congress which staged a walkout from the Rajya Sabha.
The minister was replying to a short duration discussion in the upper house on implementing the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, which led to creation of Telangana. "Andhra Pradesh has lost revenue, even though in long run it is bound to recover. For some time it will need handholding. Undivided Andhra was a revenue surplus state. But the division created a situation where the more lucrative part has gone to Telangana," Jaitley said, adding he was confident that Andhra will get back on track of development.
"As far as our commitment to honour each one of these commitments is concerned it is absolute, there are no ifs and buts," he said. On providing more funds to the state, the minister said that the central government also had limited resources, and it is doing its best.
As he finished, Congress leader Digvijaya Singh said his party was not satisfied with the reply, and its members staged a walkout from the house.
Being an articulate Supreme Court advocate by profession, Arun Jaitley didn't answer the question of granting Special Category Status to AP as promised by the then Prime Minister in Rajya Sabha while passing AP Re-organisation Bill 2014, as a precondition set by Venkaiah Naidu and himself, BJP leaders in RS. While BJP demanded 10 year status, Manmohan Singh announced status for 5 years only.
The following were promises & commitments made in AP Re-organisation Bill 2014.
AP Budget revenue deficit estimated for 1st year i.e. 2014-15 is Rs.16,000 crores for five years will be in the vicinity of Rs.40,000 crores.
Capital city construction .. conservative estimate shows at least Rs.1,00,000 crores.
Polavaram Project declared as national project will cost about Rs.25,000 crores.
Railway Zone with HQ in AP.
20+ Central institutions like IIT, IIM, AIMS, NIT, IIIT, IISER, Central University, Tribal University, Petroleum University, Agriculture University, National Disaster Management Institute, etc will cost about Rs.20,000 crores.
Dugarajupatnam port development will cost about Rs.10,000 crores.
Steel plant at Kadapa will cost about Rs.15,000 crores.
Refinery & Petrochemical complex will cost about Rs.10,000 crores.
Visakhapatnam-Chennai industrial corridor.
Metros for Vijayawada & Visakhapatnam will cost about Rs.20,000 crores
ORR for Vijayawada will cost about Rs. 18,000 crores.
Urban development will cost about Rs. 20,000 crores.
Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada & Tirupati International Airports development might cost about Rs.10,000.
The total funds committed by Center in the Act would be over Rs.3,00,000 crores in 10 year time frame. Even if evenly spread out over 15 years budget should provide Rs.20,000+ crore every year. In the last two budgets provision made was NIL and funds released so far was just Rs.2,000 crores. Special category status, for 10 years, is all the more important to attract new industries setting up quickly, thus accelerating industrial growth, job opportunities and increasing state revenues. Arun Jaitley & Narendra Modi are fundamentally anti-south. Jaitley immediately after taking over as FM remarked that there is no mechanism for transferring of central funds to state indicating that in his priorities extending assistance to AP is last. No provision made in his two budgets confirms this. Modi conveniently forgot all his election utterances while campaigning in AP. He promised sky and showed moon in his palm. Now he maintains stoic silence in AP matters. Chandrababu Naidu's 29 trips to Delhi is nothing but waste of time and petrol. Arun Jaitley stating that centre is facing deficit of 5-6% and hence could not extend liberal help to AP is untenable. Union Budget for the last 50-60 years was never surplus. In the absence of funds availability why UPA Govt in collusion with BJP resorted to AP Bifurcation in 2014 when the bill (without financial statement) was rejected by AP Assembly and Seemandhra people agitated against bifurcation, invoking Article 3. Why budget implication was not studied properly while preparing the bill in detail? Any bill which usually have an annexure of financial details was missing in this AP Re-organisation Bill 2014, which was never prepared by Union Home Ministry. Venkaiah Naidu is another useless fellow. He cares for nobody. Not even family or friends. He cares for his minister position at any cost. Why he is licking boots of Modi & Jaitley when his motherland is being raped by them? Shameless fellow, tells AP people that centre has already given over a lakh of crores while CM is stating that the receipts from centre so far are about Rs.2,800 crores only. He is like a pet dog of then Vajpayee & Advani and now Modi wagging tail and licking boots. Last two years he talks, talks and never did any good to AP. Incapable to get anything for AP. Waste fellow. Fit only for cracking some jokes in Telugu like a joker. Comedian entertaining Modi & Co. Ignore him. BJP's rule is worse than Congress. The only thing helping Modi is that crude oil prices at its lowest for two long years with no signs of increase for another one year had already resulted in FE outflow saving of about Rs.500,000 crores. Only 10-15% benefit of low prices was passed on to end users and remaining 85-90% was retained by centre and that helped economic parameters lookup. AP's budget deficit of Rs.16,000 crores pa translates to to Rs.1,333 crores every month. If centre reimburses this money after 3-4 years, how will AP Govt survive to pay its bills, salaries & pensions, fund welfare apart from huge development expenditure, month on month? Thus, Undavalli Arun Kumar ex-MP's remark - that while Congress attempted to rape AP in 2014, BJP actually raped AP in 2016 - very much true it is. While Parliament is supreme, all other institutions namely National Development Council, Finance Commission, Planning Commission, Niti Aayog etc are subordinate bodies of Govt of India i.e. Council of Ministers headed by PM. When Manmohan Singh's Union Cabinet has already approved granting Special Category Status to AP in 2014, how can Modi & Co claim that Special status can't be accorded due to conflict of rules of Finance commission and Niti Aayog? Ridiculous excuse by Arun Jaitley and Venkaiah Naidu. Modi remains tight lipped. Finally, it is very clear that BJP at Centre won't do anything to AP except lip service. These days people in high places are afraid of only lung power. Chandrababu Naidu should realize that. Requests and begging leads him to nowhere. The only way is to develop ourselves within our own means slowly and steadily rather than waiting and looking at sky for windfall to arrive. In the meantime enforce austerity, eliminate wastage and corruption and money thus saved, apart from money mobilized for overseas lending agencies, could be used for development step by step. Devoid of funding sources, no point in being hurry. In Delhi, nobody works nobody. Everybody works for self for profit.