North Andhra forum releases status report on Centre’s ‘unkept’ promises
It suggests the way forward on SCS; calls for time-bound completion of projects
The Uttarandhra Charcha Vedika (UCV) on Thursday released a status report on the promises that were yet to be fulfilled by the Central government even four years after the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh.
The status report was released at AP Bhavan in New Delhi.
The 114-page report gave details of how the bifurcated State lost on the social, economic and infrastructure fronts due to the Centre’s intransigence vis-a-vis implementing the provisions of the A.P. Re-organisation Act, 2014.
This was part of the ‘jana ghosha’ launched by UCV convener and former Minister Konathala Ramakrishna.
The report was published by the Foundation for Democratic Reforms (FDR) based on the findings by an Independent Group of Experts (IGE).
“The report deals with Special Category Status (SCS), which has now become a people’s issue,” Mr. Ramakrishna said.
On the SCS, the IGE suggested three options to the Central government – concessions to the backward areas; tax benefits beyond what was promised but short of amount grated to the SCS States; and identification of backward areas across the country and extending full tax benefits to them, including those in A.P., he said.
“In addition, massive infrastructure projects need to be taken up in A.P. with 100 % contribution from the Centre in a time-bound programme. These, along with initiatives to promote investments and create jobs, should be taken up,” he added.
The IGE insisted that all the 11 nationally important projects promised should be fully established by 2024. “Only ₹842 crore, which is 6.63% of the total project cost of ₹12,746 crore, has been released by the Centre,” the report stated. On the promised development assistance to the backward areas, the IGE said, “The Union should take steps to implement the special package of ₹24,350 crore within five years.” The report touched upon “meagre allocations” to capital city development.
Roads, storm-water drains, flood-proofing, sanitation and sewerage, drinking water, rapid connectivity and mass rapid transport system should be regarded as essential infrastructure, the report suggested.
FDR general secretary and IGE convener Jayaprakash Narayan, Chancellor of Central University of Gujarat Yoginder K Alagh, Head and professor of economics, Indian Statistical Institute, Atul Sharma, former Chief Justice of Himachal Pradesh M.N. Rao, former Union Home Secretary K. Padmanabhaiah, and former A.P. Chief Secretary Ajay Kallam spoke.