Not rejected, special status for Seemandhra under consideration: PlanCom

Written by Press Trust of India | New Delhi | Updated: Jun 14 2014, 03:41am hrs
The Planning Commission today said the proposal to accord the special category status to Andhra Pradesh (Seemandhra) is under consideration and no decision has been taken as yet.

"The proposal to accord special category status to Andhra Pradesh is still under consideration," the Commission's official spokesperson said, adding that no decision has been taken on this yet.

Earlier in March, the Union Cabinet, headed by then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had directed the Commission to accord the special category status to successor of Andhra Pradesh (Seemandhra) for five years.

Singh had even announced in the Rajya Sabha on February 21 that special category status would be extended to Seemandhra for five years.

Earlier in its presentation to the new Planning Minister Inderjit Singh Rao, the Commission said, "Andhra Pradesh does not meet NDC criteria (for special category state)."

The special category status to various states is accorded by the NDC based on consideration of a set criteria.

The criteria include 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.

About according special category status to Seemandhra, the Commission had recently pointed out in the presentation that any such proposal would have to be endorsed by the country's apex planning body National Development Council (NDC) headed by the Prime Minister with Cabinet ministers and all chief ministers on its board.

Andhra Pradesh has been recently bifurcated into two states -- Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. There are demands for according special category status from states, including Bihar, Rajasthan, Odisha and Jharkhand.

In case of Bihar, an inter-ministerial group had said that the state is not eligible to get special status based on existing criteria. However, the government is yet to take a a decision on Bihar's demand.

The Commission, however, has intimated to Rajasthan, Odisha and Jharkhand that they are not eligible for getting special status as per the criteria.

As per the Gadgil-Mukherjee formula for devolution of central assistance for state plans, 30 per cent of the total funds is earmarked for special category states.

As against the composition of central assistance of 30 per cent grant and 70 per cent loan for major states, special category states receive 90 per cent plan assistance as grant and just 10 per cent as loan.