‘Special Category Status’ to states does not form part of Terms of Reference of Finance Commission says N. K. Singh

Grant of ‘Special Category Status’ to states is out of purview of the Ṭerms of Reference of Finance Commission, said Chairman of Finance Commission N.K.Singh at a press conference in Amaravati today after concluding a meeting with the state govt. led by Chief Minister Shri N. Chandra Babu Naidu and his cabinet colleagues. Responding to the questions from the media, he stated that the issue was forcefully raised by the Chief Minister but it would be a transgression of the Presidential Notification by the Commission if it considers the issue of Special Category as it does not figure in its Terms of Reference. Philosophy of Special Category Status never emanated from any Finance Commission but from the resolution of erstwhile National Development Council.Fifteenth Finance Commission will take a sympathetic and positive view to the needs of Andhra Pradesh to achieve its targets, he said. The Commission believes that current initiatives of the state govt are credible, timely and speedy and for a prosperous India, prosperous Andhra Pradesh is must. He lauded the contribution of Andhra Pradesh to the national GDP and said that it will do everything possible in constitutional framework to realise the state’s potential. He also appreciated the efforts in harnessing the potential of water resources by interlinking the rivers which is of enormous help for agriculture development.  On the question of populist schemes, he said that Commission will have to delve deeper into it. There are many schemes which have become popular with significant outcomes, and at the same time, there are many which result in sub-optimal outcomes. On the question of using population census 2011, he said that it has been mentioned in the TOR and Commission will look into the ways of incentivising the states who have done well in controlling their population. Commission appreciated the high growth rate including agricultural growth achieved by the state. It exhorted the state govt to adopt smart agriculture and expand the food processing sector for value addition. Commission understood the huge potential in the state due to its geographical positioning like long coast line, ports and fertile land.

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