All commitments to Andhra Pradesh will be fulfilled: Arun Jaitley

FM Arun Jaitley,MoS for finance Jayant Sinha and RBI Governor Dr Raghuram Rajan at a press briefing after addressing the RBI Central Board of the Reserve Bank of India Photo courtesy: Sanjay.K.Sharma
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley Tuesday assured Rajya Sabha that the Centre will fullfil all commitments made towards Andhra Pradesh in 'letter and spirit', following protests by some Congress members.

Raising the issue during the Zero Hour, Leader of the Opposition and Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said two years ago when the state of Telengana was carved out of Andhra Pradesh, the biggest issue among the two was of capital Hyderabad.

Hyderabad went to Telengana, leading to a revenue loss to Andhra Pradesh, he said, adding then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had on the floor of Rajya Sabha on February 20, 2014 announced measures to mitigate the hardship of Andhra Pradesh including formation of new capital.

Some Congress members including J D Seelam, Renuka Chowdhury and K V P Ramachandra Rao trooped into the Well raising slogans and demanding reply from the government.

In his response, Jaitley said Centre is fully committed to help Andhra Pradesh.

"Centre is fully committed to helping the newly created state after bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh...There are several commitments which are involved in the AP Reorganisation Act. Centre is going to honour each one of those commitments in letter and spirit," the Finance Minister said.

Referring to the revenue deficit, Jaitley said "each paisa or rupee of this revenue deficit is being paid to Andhra Pradesh...We will continue to pay that".

He said institutions have to be set up in Andhra Pradesh. Foundation stones have been laid, funds have been sanctioned and in some cases work is also in an advance stage, he said.

On the new capital, Jaitley said the state is making considerable "headway" towards it. Funds have been sanctioned and more would be released towards it, he added.

Keeping the limitations of the 14th Finance Commission and resources, "whatever commitment have been made is going to be honoured", the Minister said.

However, the agitating Congress remained unsatisfied and kept raising slogan.

Deputy Chairman P J Kurien kept asking agitating Congress members to return to their seats. "You are becoming laughing stocks," he told them.

However, as slogan shouting continued, Kurien adjourned the House for few minutes.

While raising the issue, Azad wanted to know from the government what happened to the special category status for Andhra Pradesh and went on to remind that Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu as opposition MP in Rajya Sabha had demanded special category status for 10 years.

Digvijaya Singh (Cong) said it was a commitment of the Government and a Cabinet decision.

Arun Jailtey, as the leader of the opposition in 2014, had supported special status for Andhra Pradesh for 10 years, he said.

Sharad Yadav (JD-U) said the government should abide by the commitment made on the floor of the House, while K V P Ramachandra Rao (Cong) said Andhra Pradesh faced revenue loss due to formation of Telengana and Hyderabad going to it.

The promise of special status by the previous UPA government which was supported by the BJP as opposition must be fulfilled, he said. "People of Andhra Pradesh are in great distress."

Taking potshot at Congress, C M Ramesh (TDP) said the main opposition was doing the "drama" for political mileage. "After two years they (Congress) realised that state's bifurcation was wrong," he said, adding the party was wiped out from AP in the elections held after the bifurcation.

Some members wanted to raise the issue of sting operation relating to TMC in West Bengal, but Kurien did not allow them. Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M) insisted that government should respond on the issue.

Earlier, Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said special category status to Andhra Pradesh was proposed to be given for five years as well as fiscal measures and tax incentives on lines of ones given to Himachal Pradesh were announced. The Centre had promised to compensate the state for revenue loss.

He wanted to know from the government what happened to the special category status for Andhra Pradesh and went on to remind that Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu as opposition MP in Rajya Sabha had demanded special category status for 10 years.

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