As expected, the NDA government has denied special category status to Andhra Pradesh and instead, granted a special financial package, supposedly equivalent to the benefits that could be accrued if the special status is given to the state.
Well, in the normal course, the package is not an ordinary one; it would bring large number of benefits, some of which are not possible even if the special category status is given. But the biggest beneficiary in the whole deal is none other than chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu; and not the people of Andhra Pradesh.
How? Let us see. As part of the financial package, the Centre has agreed to bear the entire expenditure of Polavaram irrigation project.
Originally, it was proposed that the Centre itself would take up the project, since it is a national project and the state has no role in it. But Naidu brought pressure on the Centre by blackmailing it in the name of special status and got the project works entrusted to the state.
It means, the Centre will fund the entire project, but the execution will be done by the state. At present, TDP MP Rayapati Sambasiva Rao’s company Transtroy is executing the project and just imagine, how Naidu would get benefit out of it, without having to spend a single penny.
Secondly, the Centre has agreed to bear the expenditure of Externally Aided Projects implemented in AP, to offset the losses caused to the state on account of denial of special category status. It means, Naidu can take up several projects with external aid, like Amaravati construction with Singapore assistance, and the amount would be reimbursed by the Centre. One can again imagine how much it would benefit Naidu.
Thirdly, the Centre has agreed to reimburse the entire revenue deficit of the state. It means, Naidu can spend money indiscriminately on his foreign tours and camp offices, but the money will be given by the Centre.
Similarly, several projects like industrial clusters, ports and economic corridors can be taken up by the Naidu government with complete central assistance. Imagine who is going to be the beneficiary?
Well, that is why Naidu is welcoming the project and not the people.