New Delhi: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley after facing tough questions from the Opposition in Parliament over the implementation of the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, said on Friday that it would not grant special status to the State.
Central government will handhold Andhra Pradesh till it recovers to a level from where it can progress on its own, but his assurance did not satisfy the opposition Congress which staged a walkout from the Rajya Sabha.
The minister was replying to a short duration discussion in the upper house on implementing the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, which led to creation of Telangana.
“Andhra Pradesh has lost revenue, even though in long run it is bound to recover. For some time it will need handholding. Undivided Andhra was a revenue surplus state. But the division created a situation where the more lucrative part has gone to Telangana,” Jaitley said, adding he was confident that Andhra will get back on track of development.
“As far as our commitment to honour each one of these commitments is concerned it is absolute, there are no ifs and buts,” he said.
On providing more funds to the state, the minister said that the central government also had limited resources, and it is doing its best.
“Forty-two per cent central revenue goes to states. With rest 58% have to take care of defence, salaries, loans… we also have to support central sector schemes. After that central government has a deficit. This year it is 3.9%. In case there is larger economic management of the country, if there is a crisis, then the central government has to spend more.
“India is a union of states. The union has to survive so have India as a union of states, you can’t have a vulnerable union that India eventually becomes only a confederation of states.
“Central government must also have sufficient resources available for itself after having supported state governments,” he said.
Jaitley also urged the opposition not to use the issue for political point scoring.
“We can resort to political point scoring… this is a sensitive area,” he said.
As he finished, Congress leader Digvijaya Singh said his party was not satisfied with the reply, and its members staged a walkout from the house.