BJP President Amit Shah, who shot off an open letter to Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and TDP head N Chandrababu Naidu, said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP government had devolved far more funds to the states, than previous central governments.
“Co-operative federalism is the guiding credo of this government. PM Narendra Modi has worked with a ‘Team India’ spirit, with all the Chief Ministers and devolved far more funds – 42% of central revenues (as against 32% earlier) – amounting to an additional Rs 2 lakh crore, to the states,” Amit Shah said.
“All this makes it very obvious that any claim of discrimination against Andhra Pradesh, is far from the facts,” he added.
‘Whipping up public sentiments’
In his letter to Naidu, Amit Shah also wrote a detailed counter to the claims made by the TDP government over the Centre’s failure to grant Special Category Status (SCS).
“It is regrettable that some political parties are whipping up public sentiments rather than encouraging an informed debate which is the cornerstone of a vibrant democracy. I would like you to introspect whether political parties should be pitting sentiments and development against each other to further their political agenda,” Shah lashed out.
Stating that the Centre had always been sensitive to the needs of Andhra, Shah also pointed out that the 14th Finance Commission had awarded revenue deficit grants to the state to the tune of Rs 22,113 crore.
“The total award of funds to AP under tax devolution and grants under various heads during the 14th Finance Commission (2015 to 2020 which broadly corresponds to the tenure of the present NDA government) is Rs 2,44, 271 crore,” Shah wrote.
Breaking up the figure, the letter states that Rs 1,70,686 crore was allocated as a share in central taxes, while Rs 36,225 crore was sanctioned as grant-in-aid. Rs 22,113 crore came under the Revenue Deficit Grant, while local bodies grant amounted to Rs 12,290 crore.
The State Disaster Response Fund was granted Rs 2,957 crore, the letter claimed.
“The total award of funds and grants to Andhra from 2010 to 2015 was Rs 1,17,967 crore and the Congress-led UPA government was in power for most of this period. Mr Naidu, does this massive increase in financial award to the tune of Rs 1,26,304 crore (a rise of 107%) to AP not show the sensitivity of the Centre towards the state?” Amit Shah asked.
The letter claimed that the state offered a special package despite this massive increase, to ensure that the state would have gotten benefits equal to the ones mentioned in the SCS.
‘State only spent 12% of development grants’
“Your government hailed this special package, and two years later, you have made a u-turn demanding special status, which has become redundant, in view of the financial commitments already fulfilled by the Centre. The amount of Externally Aided Projects (EAPs) signed so far is Rs 8,9991 crore, while projects worth Rs 17,236 crore are in the pipeline. Why has the state not acted in a speedy manner to get the EAPs implemented?” Amit Shah asked.
The letter also claimed that the state government had only spent 12% of development grants to the tune of Rs 1,050 crore that was released as special developmental assistance to the seven backward districts in the state.
The letter also wrote about the funds released for the state’s new capital city Amaravati, and the Polavaram Project, challenging claims made by the state.
“The Centre has already allocated Rs 2,500 crore for Amaravati, including Rs 1,000 crore released by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA), out of which only 8% has been spent. When the state government has not utilised the funds given so far, how can it expect the Centre to release further funds for the purpose?” Amit Shah asked.
As far as Polavaram Project was concerned, Amit Shah said that the Central government would provide 100% of the remaining cost of the irrigation component of the project starting from April 1, 2014 and said that the Centre had already released Rs 5,364 crore for the project.
This comes after weeks of escalating tensions between the BJP and the TDP.
On March 8, the TDP had pulled its two Ministers -- Ashok Gajapathi Raju and YS Chowdary -- out of the Narendra Modi government, and subsequently also pulled out of the alliance.
The TDP has also moved a no-confidence motion against the Modi government in the Lok Sabha, which is not being taken up due to unending uproar in the House.