Andhra still hoping for "special category status"
Andhra still hoping for “special category status”

The Andhra Pradesh government has decided to defer its industrial policy till the next meeting of the state Cabinet as it awaits clarity on its demand for special category status and tax incentives from the Centre. The state Cabinet at its last meeting deferred the draft industrial policy after discussing it at length and refining it, said Parakala Prabhakar, communications advisor to Andhra Pradesh government. “Several domestic and global investors are waiting for clarity over the incentives that the Centre would extend to AP. The Cabinet decided to wait for more clarity on the additional incentives in the form of special category status,“ said Prabhakar.

Chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu said the government will place the industrial policy before the next Cabinet meeting. “If there is still a delay in clarity from the Centre on the incentives, we will go ahead and offer whatever best incentives the state can with a promise to pass on additional benefits as and when the Centre extends them.“ According to Prabhakar, the state government hopes the Centre’s stand will become clear after the chief minister meets PM Narendra Modi over the next couple of weeks. The Naidu-led Telugu Desam Party (TDP) is a member of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) at the Centre. The state government had prepared the industrial policy with the assistance of global consultancy firm Deloitte several months ago. The previous Congress-led UPA government had promised special category status to the successor state of erstwhile Andhra Pradesh, after Telangana was carved out in June 2014.

The Centre had then also promised a special package to seven backward districts in the state. India has 11 states that are enjoying the special category status. These include Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, Tripura and Uttarakhand. Special category states receive 90% plan assistance as grant and just 10% as loan, compared to central assistance of 30% and 70% loan for major states. Chief minister Naidu said that the revenue-deficit Andhra Pradesh, which suffered severe drought and cyclones over the past nine months, is keenly waiting for a helping hand from the Centre and has been pursuing the matter through its representatives in the Union Cabinet.

Source: Economic Times