For Andhra’s Backward Districts, Centre Not Releasing 700 Crore: Official

New Delhi: 

In what appears to be fallout of the TDP pulling out of the NDA, the centre has not released Rs 700 crore funds to Andhra Pradesh for development of seven backward districts for 2017-18 and 2018-19, but a similar assistance due to Telangana has already been given.

While the government think-tank Niti Aayog has recommended release of the funds to the bifurcated Andhra Pradesh, a file in this regard is pending with the Prime Minister Office (PMO) for last few months, Andhra Pradesh Planning Board vice-chairman C Kutumba Rao told PTI.

Both Andhra Pradesh and Telangana are entitled to a special development package from the centre for a period of five years under the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act 2014.

Andhra Pradesh is entitled to Rs 350 crore annual grant for the development of seven backward districts, while the neighbouring Telangana would get Rs 450 crore annually for nine backward districts.

The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) broke away from the NDA early this year over the Centre’s refusal to grant special status to Andhra Pradesh.

“We should get in total Rs 700 crore funds pending for 2017-18 and the current fiscal and the Centre has not released this amount till date. But to Telangana, it has released Rs 900 crore for both 2017-18 and 2018-19 fiscals,” Mr Rao said.

Alleging that the centre is acting in a “biased manner” towards the bifurcated Andhra Pradesh, he said the state government has written several letters demanding early release of funds but the centre has not responded positively.

“In fact, the central government on February 9 released Rs 350 crore for the 2017-18 fiscal. However, a week later the funds were taken back without citing any reason,” he noted.

Usually when the centre allocates funds, it is deposited in the RBI general account of the state. The RBI has control over the account and it can take back the amount, he added.

Stating that nothing is pending from the state government’s side, Mr Rao said: “We have submitted necessary utility certificates. Union Finance Ministry has not given a single reason either written or oral to the state.”

In fact, the Niti Aayog has recommended releasing of funds to the state, but the file is pending with the PMO. “If the PMO cannot decide on a file in six months,imagine how the central government is functioning,” he said.

Out of 13 districts in Andhra Pradesh, seven backward districts are Srikakulam, Vijayanagaram. Anantapur, Kadapa, Kurnool and Chittoor.

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