Union Urban Development Minister and senior BJP leader M Venkaiah Naidu today said the residuary state of Andhra Pradesh would be accorded special category status even as Telangana assembly adopted a resolution seeking identical status. "There is no confusion about this (special category status)," said Naidu, speaking at a felicitation organised by BJP.
He said the new government at the Centre would give special status to Andhra Pradesh, which now needs a new capital and is facing many developmental challenges.
Naidu's assurance came a day after a Planning Commission spokesperson had said in New Delhi that "the proposal to accord special category status to Andhra Pradesh is still under consideration" but no decision has been taken. Naidu had spoken to Union Planning Minister Rao Inderjit Singh on the issue soon after that the Commission clarified that no decision to deny the status had been taken.
With the Centre favourably inclined to according special status to Andhra Pradesh, similar demand was raised for the newly created Telangana state, with its legislature adopting a resolution in support of a similar demand. "Telangana has all the qualifications to be given special state status. The Centre should treat both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh on equal basis," Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao said, moving the resolution.
Earlier in March, the Union Cabinet, headed by then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, had directed the Commission to accord special category status to successor of Andhra Pradesh (Seemandhra) for five years.
In its presentation to Rao Inderjit Singh, the plan panel had, however, said Andhra Pradesh does not meet NDC criteria to qualify for special category status. The special category status to a state is accorded by NDC based on a set criteria including among other things hilly and difficult terrain, low population density and or sizeable share of tribal population, strategic location along borders with neighbouring countries, economic and infrastructure backwardness and non-viable nature of state finances.
Also, the panel had said that any such proposal would have to be endorsed by the the National Development Council (NDC) headed by the Prime Minister with Cabinet ministers and all chief ministers on its board.