Jairam Ramesh, a key member of the Group of Ministers that drafted the Telangana Bill, will meet Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia on Tuesday to make a case for ‘Special Category State’ status for Seemandhra on grounds of loss of revenue.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will then write to the National Development Council to inform it of this decision.
“If it so happens that the NDC comes back to the Centre saying it would like to deliberate on the issue of grant of Special Category State status to Seemandhra, we will take a call on whether to call a meeting or leave it for the next government at the Centre after the Lok Sabha election to take the decision forward,” Mr. Ramesh told The Hindu.
On Monday, The Hindu reported that the NDC has exclusive jurisdiction on deciding the criteria for giving special category status to a State. Under the existing NDC norms Seemandhra does not qualify for the status.
Mr. Ramesh said the GoM originally wanted that the revenue from Hyderabad divided, post-bifurcation, between Telangana and Seemandhra. But the idea had to be dropped after constitutional experts pointed out that revenue from a State could not be shared with another. “So the way we have found to compensate Seemandhra for the loss of revenue from Hyderabad is to grant it Special Category State Status for five years.”
Seemandhra is estimated to suffer revenue loss — from missing out on levies such as stamp duty and property tax etc., — of anything between Rs. 9,000 crore and Rs. 15,000 crore.
“Bihar had got a raw deal after it was bifurcated in 2000 and we do not want to repeat the same with Seemandhra,” Mr. Ramesh said.
“The NDA approved a Special Plan and started releasing funds to Bihar only in 2003-04.” The Commission will set up a special unit on Tuesday to address Seemandhra’s development needs.