The Centre has no plans to grant Special Category Status to any State, Minister of State for Planning, Rao Inderjit Singh, told the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday.
The Minister was replying to Congress member K.V.P. Ramachandra Rao, who wanted to convene a meeting of National Development Council to discuss the necessity for continuance of the concept of SCS.
Members of the Congress, the Left and the Trinamool Congress, however, were not satisfied with the Minister’s reply and staged a walkout.
Responding to the attack by the Opposition parties, he said, instead of criticising the government, they should ensure fiscal discipline in their respective States and develop them utilising the extra Rs. 1.78 lakh crore that the Centre had given through the Finance Commission. The last State to be accorded the status was Uttarakhand way back in 2001 and no State had been given the status after that, the Minister added.
No approval from NDC
He said he would not deny that the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had announced that they would give Andhra Pradesh SCS for five years.
Mr. Singh said the basic principle for according SCS was the approval from the National Development Council. “As far as AP is concerned, there was no endorsement, approval from the NDC... We are not giving SCS to Andhra,” the Minister added.
He said the previous government could have asked the NDC to approve the status for AP, but it did not do so. He said after taking over, the BJP government gave 10% extra grant, amounting to Rs. 1.78 lakh crore per year, to the States through the Finance Commission.