Jaitley commits special package to Andhra, as TDP leads protests in Parliament

Jaitley commits special package to Andhra, as TDP leads protests in Parliament

Telugu Desam Party, TDP, has made a decision to pull out its two ministers from the government over the centre's refusal to give Andhra Pradesh central funding under a "special status", Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu announced late on Wednesday evening.

Amidst the clamour by Andhra Pradesh seeking special category status, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday said the Centre is fully committed to giving the monetary equivalent of the demand through a special package and is now awaiting a response from the State.

Speaking at a press conference, the CM said that two Union Ministers from TDP, Ashok Ganapathi Raju and YS Chowdary, will resign on Thursday from the Cabinet.

The sources said that Chandrababu Naidu would explain to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the circumstances that led TDP to quit from the Union cabinet over phone. The state was unwilling for bifurcation, and Telangana wanted the division.

Naidu said Jaitley's announcement was the "last straw" for the TDP. He renewed his plea to the Centre for a helping hand till his state develops on par with the neighboring states. "At no stage has the Centre said that we will not give it", he added.

Reacting to the inconclusive talks between the State government and Ministry of Finance on Monday night, MPs, including Galla Jayadev, said they have no more confidence that the Centre will act upon their demands.

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Briefing reporters here, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said special status is nothing but a 90:10 ratio of fund-sharing between the Centre and the state where the Centre is committed to 90% of funds required for a centrally sponsored scheme.

Naidu has blamed the Centre of not fulfiling the promises made to Andhra Pradesh under the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act.

Jaitley added that after the 14th Finance Commission report, the term "special category status" doesn't exist any longer. The 14th Financial Commission said no special status, but we chose to compensate the revenue deficit for a certain period. The Centre announced a "special package" in 2016 for Andhra Pradesh but the TDP said no funds were given to the state.

He later tweeted that a united Opposition can force the Centre "to do justice to the people of Andhra Pradesh".

The finance minister said on February 6 and 7, delegations from Andhra Pradesh met him, and they were advised to float a special goal vehicle in the state, and NABARD will fund that corporation, and the Centre would pay 90 per cent therein.