Special category status: PM puts ball in Niti Aayog’s court

Following a one-and-a-half hour meeting between Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on Tuesday, the Niti Aayog has been entrusted the task of taking a final view on the issue of granting Special Category status to Andhra Pradesh.

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley told reporters after the meeting that Niti Aayog vice-chairman Arvind Panagariya would hold discussions on the matter with State Government officials to reconcile it with the Finance Commission’s recommendations ruling out special category status for any state.

Niti Aayog will take a “final view on this,” he said.

Mr. Jaitley was present along with officials of his ministry and Niti Aayog vice-chairman at the PM’s meeting with Mr Naidu.

Mr. Jaitley said further implementation of all the commitments made in the AP Reorganisation Act was the agenda of the meeting. These commitments are specific to Andhra Pradesh under sections 46, 90 and 94 of the Act.

He said that each of these sections was discussed in detail and the Prime Minister was of the clear view that whatever was in the Act would be given to the State. The vice-chairman of Niti Aayog has been asked to be in touch with the State Government and prepare a road map for each of the provisions, he added.

Before his meeting with Mr. Modi, the Chief Minister had confabulations with Union Urban Development Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh at the former’s residence.

Later talking to newsmen, Mr. Venkaiah Naidu urged political parties not to politicise the issue of special category status for Andhra Pradesh for it would not benefit the people nor the State.

He said that as there are similar demands from other States, the Centre was making all attempts to find a solution. No doubt, injustice has been done to Andhra Pradesh during bifurcation, he added.

Mr. Singh said the Centre was keen to quickly sort out the issues arising out of the AP Reorganisation Act so that AP and Telangana could fully concentrate on development.

Pointing out that the Home Ministry was the nodal ministry for implementing the AP Reorganisation Act, Mr. Venkaiah Naidu said he had requested Mr. Singh to ensure that to ensure that all its provisions were enforced.

Source: The Hindu

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