Social justice to be a vital part in development of both regions: Jairam Ramesh

The Government of India has the power to extend special category Status to the States on its own and it requires neither an ordinance nor an approval from Parliament, Union Minister for Rural Development Jairam Ramesh said here on Tuesday.

Seeking to clear the air on the legality of the special category status, Mr. Ramesh said that the Union Cabinet had decided to extend the special category status to the successor State of Andhra Pradesh for five years after a request had come from the Union Ministers, MPs, State Ministers and MLAs of Congress and not from BJP or any other party.

Apart from excise duty concessions, these States are entitled to 90 per cent of Centrally sponsored schemes and external aid as grants and 10 per cent as loans, he said.

Amendment in RS

Admitting that the provision for extending special category status had not been included in the A.P Reorganisation Bill-2013, Mr. Ramesh said that this proposal was put forward by Congress Ministers and MPs on February 17, a day before the bill was passed in the Lok Sabha.

If the provisions were to be included after the bill was passed in the Lok Sabha, it would require an amendment in the Rajya Sabha.

The bill in the amended form should be tabled again in Lok Sabha on February 21, the last day of Parliament and the Centre was not willing to take a risk and hence included the provisions, based on recommendation of the Cabinet, in the Bill, he said.

He also reminded that Uttarakhand, a State formed in 2000, was given a special category status in 2002 by the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Government.

Social justice

Earlier, Mr. Ramesh said that the bifurcation of the State had been completed legally and constitutionally and the time has come for fulfilling a new sense of social justice in both successor states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

He broadly hinted that a broad alliance of SC, ST and BC communities that would play a key role in development of both the regions.

Ruling out any legal or constitutional hindrances to the creation of Telangana, he said that four successive judgments of Supreme Court in 1959, 1979, 2002 and 2009 had upheld Articles 3 and 4 to reorganise existing states.

Former Ministers Kanna Lakshminarayana, Dokka Manikya Vara Prasada Rao, MLAs Sk. Mastan Vali, Kandru Kamala and MLC Singam Basavapunnaiah were present.

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