AAP leader and MLA Kanwar Sandhu said today he has written to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley seeking special status for Punjab and its inclusion in the list of special category states (SCS).
AAP leader and MLA Kanwar Sandhu said today he has written to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley seeking special status for Punjab and its inclusion in the list of special category states (SCS). Sandhu has also written to Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh in this regard, demanding that he call an all-party meeting on the issue. “Punjab has a much stronger case as compared to states like Andhra Pradesh, which has sought special status and inclusion in the SCS list. “While special status will help meet the political aspirations of its people through legitimate legislative means, its inclusion in SCS will help it come out of the economic and financial mess,” Sandhu said here.
He said it was unfortunate that Punjab’s case was never pursued vigorously since its bifurcation in 1966. “If terms of reference of the 15th Finance Commission are not revised, Punjab would be hit harder in terms of devolution of funds from the Centre as compared to states such as Karnataka and Kerala, which are making a similar demand,” he said. Sandhu said it was important these issues were raised forcefully as Punjab was facing a severe financial and economic crisis.
“Besides, there is disquiet among the people of the state due to the Centre’s indifference to its aspirations and expectations,” he added. In his letter to Jaitley, the AAP leader argued that Punjab was not included in the list of SCS despite it fulfilling three of the five parameters — strategic location along the borders of the country, economic and infrastructure backwardness, and non-viable nature of state finances.
At present, 11 of the 28 states are included in the SCS list. These 11 states include Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand.