Released Rs 22,111.88 cr to AP govt: Centre tells HC

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Amaravati: The Centre on Thursday informed the Andhra Pradesh High Court that it has released Rs 22,111.88 crore as post-devolution revenue deficit grant and another Rs 16,510 crore under different heads, including capital city development, to the state during 2014-20.

In a counter-affidavit on a petition seeking grant of Special Category Status to AP and implementation of the provisions of AP Reorganisation Act, 2014, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs said the issue of grant of SCS was considered keeping in view the larger interest of the nation.

The 14thFinance Commission did not make a distinction between special and general category states.Its approach was to fill the resource gap of each state to the extent possible through tax devolution and, if such devolution alone could not cover the assessed gap, for certain states a revenue deficit grant was provided, it said.

Assistant Solicitor General N Harinath filed the counter-affidavit before a division bench of justices Rakesh Kumar, A V Sesha Sai and M Satyanarayana Murthy, opposing the petitioner’s plea.

The Centre said the Finance Commission recommended a total award of Rs 22,113 crore to AP for the five-year period (from 2015).

Out of this, Rs 22,111.88 crore have been provided to the state, it added.

It also said a sum of Rs 3,979.50 crore was released out of Rs 4,117.89 crore assessed as resource gap for the period June 2, 2014 to March 31, 2015.

For the multipurpose Polavaram project on river Godavari, the Centre said a sum of Rs 8,614.16 crore had been released so far.

The Ministry of Finance sought clarification (from the state government) on the audited statement of expenditure and revised cost estimate of the project at 2013-14 price level, for further release of funds.

It said the Advisory Committee of Union Ministry of Jal Shakti had on February 11, 2019 approved the revised cost estimate for an amount of Rs 55,548.87 crore at 2017-18 price level.

Referring to the 13thSchedule of the APRA, 2014, the Centre maintained that provisions under Section 93 of the Act relating to setting up of infrastructure projects and national educational institutions have a long gestation period of ten years.

The Centre also said it amended provisions of the Income Tax Act, 1961 to extend additional financial incentives for setting new manufacturing enterprises in the backward areas of the state.

The Centre said almost all provisions under Section 92 (12thSchedule) of the APRA (on matters relating to coal, oil and natural gas, and power generation, transmission and distribution) have been implemented.

From these facts and circumstances, the Writ Petition needs to be dismissed, the Centre requested the High Court.

A similar Writ Petition on the issue was pending adjudication before the Supreme Court.

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