With the aborted protest at Vishakapatnamâ€™s RK beach, the issue of Special Category Status for Andhra is again occupying popular attention in the state. As the various political voices go back and forth between Special Status and the recently announced special package, the debate has extended to the common people of the state as well. Here is a cross-section of views from Andhrites on the issue:
I don't see any wrong in demanding Special Status. But I see wrong in ignoring the announced package. Unfortunately, no one is willing to understand the issue and are instead following some leaders blindly.
The special package is almost as good as the special status.
Special Status and tax incentives are two different things. But the opposition is fooling people by saying that they go together. The Polavaram project was promised to be converted into a national project. In the package, 100% funds have been promised (which means that Andhra receives an additional Rs 3000 crore here alone). Besides this, no obstacles will be raised from Telangana, Odisha or Chattisgarh. Funds from NABARD within a short time is another major plus.
We have an able administrator who has a successful track record of getting funds from the centre. And fighting with centre will prove costly for us. CM Naidu is doing the right thing now â€“ taking whatever is being offered and fighting for the remaining, such as legality for the package, a railway zone, a steel plant, ports and so on.
No one could imagine that the BJP will have a majority on their own in the Centre, not even Chandrababu Naidu. Thatâ€™s the point that changed the tone, tenor and language of BJP at the centre, as well as in the state. People have no idea, as to why CM Naidu also started to speak the same language of BJP Leaders. Efforts have been made to make the people believe that AP would get more with a special package than special status. There have been many attempts to brainwash the people through the media.
People are sentimental about Special Status, but are busy with their heroesâ€™ films and are busy with their careers. Even if someone takes the lead, what people see in him is not his abilities, but his caste. Most of the discredit for this can be attributed to the lack of leadership in the political arena. The current generation of political leaders have their own business agendas that drive them to be with each other across the political spectrum.
Saikiran Kumar Kondamudi
After getting elected Narendra Modi avoided his election promises and instead has given a special package after AP CM Chandrababu Naidu's repeated appeals to the central government. This is not legal yet. The people of AP are angry because they feel they were betrayed when the division happened and now they are feeling betrayed again by the central government not giving special status.
There is an emotional sentiment that has built up on the question of special status. Although we need to agree that the central government has given a good package, they are unable to explain it to the people of AP. Also, they need to make the special package legally binding.
There are several reasons why the PMO is not considering the special category status for Andhra Pradesh seriously.
1) Unsatisfied requirements:
According to the constitution, if a state has to be given a special category status it has to satisfy some prerequisites. The allocation of central assistance to states is determined on the basis of Gadgill-Mukherjee formula, which was developed by renowned social scientist Dhananjay Ramachandra Gadgill and later revised by Dr Pranab Mukherjee, the present President of India.
The weightage is divided among the following factors
1. Population (55%)
2. Per Capita income (25%)
3. Fiscal management (5%)
4. Special problems (15%)
In summary, in order to qualify for special category status, the state should have a considerable population below the poverty line and it should have a lower income compared to the nation's per capita. Special problems include the geography â€“ the state should contain hilly terrain, flood or drought prone areas, desert areas and sparsely or highly populated areas.
The state Andhra Pradesh doesn't meet most of the prerequisites because of the coastal plains and reasonably good GDP, per capita and so on.
2) Other Factors:
At present, there are many states demanding the special category status especially, Bihar, Rajasthan, Chattisgharh. It will be a huge burden for the government to sustain the target growth rate if it gives special category to all those. Also, it is not a good time to speak about AP's special category status amid of Bihar elections.
(Re-published from Quora with permission from Sai Praneeth)