New Delhi/Hyderabad: Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday assured TDP MPs from Andhra Pradesh that the central government will 'very shortly' announce new measures to help the revenue-deficit state.
Jaitley assured the delegation of MPs that the Narendra Modi government will walk an extra mile to help the state, though it may not give the special category status.
The MPs including central minister Y. S. Chowdary met Jaitley in the national capital to seek immediate steps to grant special status to Andhra Pradesh as per the commitment given by the central government while dividing the state.
"We are examining the possibility particularly after the 14th Finance Commission," Jaitley said in an apparent reference to the commission doing away with special status to any state.
"One thing is absolutely clear that irrespective of whatever name (it is) called, a special assistance has to be given continuously for next few years to the state of Andhra Pradesh. It will not be in any way less than what the state's needs are and what is being expected," he said.
"It will be more than a normal special assistance which is given to a state. It will be in terms of revenue assistance, in terms of covering up revenue shortfall, it will be for helping in building the state capital and also by allocating several new projects. Some projects have already been given. We have to walk an extra mile as far as helping the state is concerned," he added.
Chowdary told reporters later that Jaitley promised that an announcement will be made by month-end. He said the central government was working on a package which will be a combination of both the industrial incentives package and a special status package.
MP J.C. Diwakar Reddy said the state would get all the incentives given under special status. "They have some legal and technical problems in calling it a special status," he said.
During the meeting, Jaitley said the previous UPA government promised special status without making a provision for it in Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act. He agreed that with Hyderabad become a part of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh lost a major source of revenue. He alleged that Congress party is now trying to take political mileage from the issue of special status.
Another delegation of TDP and Bharatiya Janata Party MPs met union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and urged him to fulfill all the commitments made in Reorganisation Act.
The TDP MPs met the central ministers as pressure is mounting on the TDP government in the state to pressurize the central government to accord special status.
The state is witnessing series of protests over the issue. This intensified after a Congress activist died by setting himself afire in Tirupati on Saturday.
A shutdown was observed in the state on Tuesday on a call given by the Communist Party of India (CPI) and supported by all opposition parties.