After a lot of hide and seek game between the Telugu Desam Party and the Bharatiya Janata Party over the injustice meted out to the state by the Centre, Union finance minister Arun Jaitely on Wednesday drew the curtains over the drama by declaring that there is no question of granting special category status to Andhra Pradesh.
Jaitely also served a stern warning to the TDP and all the other parties including YSR Congress party agitating for SCS, stating that the Centre would not succumb to political agitations and threats of sentiments in this regard.
“You cannot get funds through any kind of pressure tactics. Sentiments and agitations cannot change the rules and regulations of the devolution of funds. There would be no additional funds just because of agitations,” he said at a press conference in New Delhi in the evening.
The finance minister took several minutes to explain the terms "special category" and "special package".
He said, "We are willing to satisfy every condition. Only variation is that after Finance Commission report instead of formally calling it a special category state, we are calling it a special package, which gives same monetary benefits that a special category state gives you."
Jaitley added that after the 14th Finance Commission report, the term "special category status" doesn't exist any longer.
With regard to revenue deficit, too, Jaitely disputed with the Chandrababu Naidu government’s claim for Rs 16,000 crore for the first 10 months period of 2014-15.
“The maximum amount that could be given for the pending period of 2014-15 is Rs 1600 crore, which we are ready to pay,” he said.
He also said the GST refund being given to eight north-east states and three Himalayan states cannot be given to Andhra Pradesh, as there were several other states more backward than AP and they would all make the same demand.
“We need funds for the country’s security also. How can we adjust funds?” he said.