NEW DELHI: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday assured Rajya Sabha that New Delhi 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 JD Seelam, Renuka Chowdhury and KVP Ramachandra Rao trooped into the Well raising slogans and demanding reply from the government. In his response, Jaitley said New Delhi 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 PJ 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.