Andhra CM chalks out agenda for Finance Commission meeting

Amaravati: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu on Friday discussed with the state’s senior bureaucrats the issues to be mentioned before the 15th Finance Commission.

A delegation of the 15th Finance Commission headed by Nand Kishore Singh, former Rajya Sabha Member of Parliament (MP) and former Central Revenue Secretary will be reaching Amaravati on October 11 to hear the arguments and take up the pleas of the state government on financial devolution.

The Chief Minister asked the officials to make it clear to the Finance Commission that Andhra Pradesh has been made a “political victim” for the political gains of the central government. He also suggested that officials should effectively explain the losses the state incurred and the problems it is facing due to an unscientific bifurcation.

“Niti Aayog became a dummy, Planning Commission is dismantled, National Development Council meetings are not being held, now there is no forum for raising the issues of states. In this wake, meeting with 15th Finance Commission will be the best chance to explain the condition of the state,” he said.

“The central government has escaped from giving special category status to Andhra Pradesh citing 14th Finance Commission recommendation as the reason. Now, we have to see what 15th finance minister will say. Changing the basis of 1971 population for devolution of funds, taking back the funds released for development of backward districts, non-implementation of assurances given in the reorganisation act and promises made in the Parliament… all these matters should be effectively put before the commission,” said the Chief Minister.

He continued, “How can the Centre bypass the constitutional amendment which speaks of taking 1971 population as the basis for financial devolutions until 2031? Such a government will not even hesitate in deciding the number of parliamentary constituencies. It seems the central government wants to penalise those states which achieved the development targets and harass politically.”

Continuing his tirade against the Centre, Naidu said that Andhra Pradesh has effectively faced even natural calamities, but is unable to control the losses incurred due to the Centre’s attitude.

“The state has effectively faced even natural calamities but is unable to control the losses incurred due to the Centre’s attitude. Had the Centre fulfilled the promises and given the special category status, we would have achieved two times the development we achieved till date. Congress president Rahul Gandhi accepted that Andhra Pradesh is the 21st century victim, almost all political parties in the Parliament have appealed to set right the injustice done to Andhra Pradesh,” he said.

Questioning the policies of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led central government, Naidu said: “The BJP is not giving efficient leadership to the nation. With improper demonetisation, an economy of the nation is derailed. The Centre’s inefficiency is causing problems to the people of the country. Implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) is very bad. Relations between the Centre and states are spoiled. Your inefficient policies at the national level are troubling the states.”

He further directed the officials to explain to the 15th Finance Commission with all statistics after the state lost a major chunk of income by losing Hyderabad. “Telangana is getting most of its income from the service sector. That is the result of developing an ecosystem in the then united Andhra Pradesh. We had brought a vision document named ‘Vision 2020’ in 1995 and implemented (it). Nobody took serious note of it in those days. But, it resulted in today’s development of Hyderabad. Now after bifurcation, Andhra Pradesh has lost all of that income”, he said.

The 15th Finance Commission was constituted to make recommendations on financial matters for five years from April 1, 2020 onwards. The commission has been asked to submit its report by October 2019.