Seemandhra to get special status for five years, says PM
Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh has said special status will be given for five years to Seemandhra region - the residual state of Andhra Pradesh following creation of a separate Telangana.
Speaking in the Rajya Sabha on the bill to create a separate Telangana state yesterday, Dr. Singh said: "I have listened very carefully to the views expressed by the Leader of Opposition and all the other members who have spoken, especially those from Andhra Pradesh. The Home Minister has already mentioned the specific steps our Government will take to address the concerns of all regions of the state, particularly of Seemandhra."
Dr. Singh further said he would like to make a few further announcements in this regard.
"First, for purposes of Central assistance, Special Category Status will be extended to the successor state of Andhra Pradesh comprising 13 districts, including the four districts of Rayalaseema and the three districts of north coastal Andhra for a period of five years. This will put the state's finances on a firmer footing," he said.
"Second, the Bill already stipulates that the Central Government shall take appropriate fiscal measures, including offer of tax incentives to the successor states in order to promote industrialization and economic growth in both the states. These incentives will be along the lines extended to some other states," he added.
"Third, the Bill already provides for a special development package for the backward regions of the successor state of Andhra Pradesh, in particular for the districts of Rayalaseema and North Coastal Andhra Pradesh. This development package will be on the lines of the K-B-K (Koraput-Bolangir-Kalahandi) Special Plan in Odisha and the Bundelkhand special package in Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh," he said.
"Fourth, I would like to reassure Honourable Members that if any further amendments are needed to facilitate smooth and full Rehabilitation & Resettlement(R&R) for the Polavaram project, they will be given effect to at the earliest. Our government will execute the Polavaram project--let there be no doubt about it," he added.
Dr. Singh further informed that the appointed day for the formation of the new State will be so fixed in relation to the notified date so as to enable preparatory work relating to personnel , finance and distribution of assets and liabilities to be completed satisfactorily.
"The resource gap that may arise in the successor state of Andhra Pradesh in the very first year, especially during the period between the appointed day and the acceptance of the 14th Finance Commission recommendations by the Government of India, will be compensated in the Regular Union Budget for 2014-15," he added.
" I hope these additional announcements will demonstrate our steadfast commitment to not just the creation of Telangana but also to the continued prosperity and welfare of Seemandhra," he further stated.
The prime minister read his statement in house amid din and slogan shouting by members opposing the bill to create the new state.
(Posted on 21-02-2014)