VIJAYAWADA: Even as Andhra Pradesh has been demanding accordance of Special Category status (SCS), the Union Finance Ministry has clarified on Tuesday, August 10, 2021, that the Centre has already released Rs 15.61 crore in 2018-19, on the government of AP’s request, towards repayment of interest liabilities of externally aided projects (EAPs) signed and disbursed by the state during 2015-16 to 2017-18.
The Finance Ministry also stated that the Centre has released Rs 83,000 crore between 2014-15 and 2020-21 under various Centrally-sponsored schemes and Central sector schemes, in addition to Rs 19,427 crore given as assistance under the AP Reorganisation Act, 2014, and Rs 59,496.91 crore fund transfers as recommended by the 13th, 14th and 15th finance commissions between 2014-15 and 2021-22 (up to July). All the above amounts to over Rs 1.61 lakh crore. BJP member GVL Narasimha Rao in the Rajya Sabha sought details of the Central assistance provided to AP under various schemes and heads since 2014. He also sought to know if AP had requested repayment of EAP loans as per special assistance measure granted in 2016 in lieu of Special Category Status.
In his response, Minister of State for Finance Pankaj Chaudhary said, “The Union government had given its approval for the special assistance measure for the successor State of AP by way of special dispensation in funding of EAPs on March 15, 2017. In compliance to the same, based on the request received from the State, the Union government had released an amount of Rs 15.81 crore towards repayments of interest liabilities of EAPs signed and disbursed by the State during 2015-16 to 2017-18 in 2018-19.”
The Rs 19,427 crore given as assistance under AP Reorganisation Act, 2014, includes reimbursements of Rs 11,182 crore given to the Polavaram Irrigation Project, Rs 2,500 crore for capital development and development grant of Rs 1,750 crore for backward districts.
The Union minister also revealed that Rs 4,096.16 crore was released in 2014-15 as recommended by the 13th Finance Commission. About Rs 36,580 crore was released between 2015-16 and 2019-20 as recommended by the 14th Finance Commission including post devolution deficit grant, rural and urban local bodies grants and disaster management grant. In 2020-21 and 2021-22 (up to July 31), Rs 18,821 crore, including ULB grant arrears, has been released as recommended by the 15th Finance Commission, Pankaj Chaudhary said. Besides, a total of 14 EAPs with a budget of Rs 39,343 crore are being carried out in the State, he added.