Sir, the 5 crore people of Andhra Pradesh demand an explanation from the Finance Minister, and the Prime Minister. After you promised AP Special Status during the elections, we were told by you, that because of technical difficulties due to the introduction of GST, this was no longer possible. In lieu, you offered us a Special Package, which you promised us would be equal in value to all the benefits we would otherwise have received if we had Special Status. We believed you Mr. Finance Minister and Mr. Prime Minister. We are allies. We fought the 2014 elections together, and we won based on promises made to the people of Andhra Pradesh. Why shouldn’t we trust you? We have trusted you, and have maintained Alliance Dharma for the last 4 years, and now 5 budgets. Trusting, and waiting. You have repeatedly given us assurances, and asking us to have patience. But there is no more time for patience. This budget is the final chance to fulfill your promises and assurances. It’s now or never. We understand that you have the numbers in the Lok Sabha, to render us irrelevant. But let me remind you that elections are fast approaching. Based on current trends, the next general elections will certainly be challenging. If the promises and assurances you made to your ally are not fulfilled, what message does that send to your other allies, or potential allies? I may be new to politics, but I do understand about trust, an essential requirement for any partnership to continue. I also think that I can safely say, that India has not seen her last days of coalition governments. What message do you want to send to your allies and potential allies, Mr. FM and Mr. PM? Your allies are feeling neglected, betrayed and humiliated, as are the 5crore people of Andhra Pradesh.
We demand an explanation.
In the Budget, there is no mention of Amaravati, Polavaram, Railway Zone, Deficit Budget, Special Package, not to mention other commitments made in the AP Reorganization Act, and assurances made on the floor of the Rajya Sabha, by then Prime Minister, Sri Manmohan Singh, without which, this bill would not have been passed, and therefore sacrosanct. Some of your party leaders are trying to convince you that somehow your party can grow in Andhra Pradesh by breaking the promises, and weakening the TDP. Seasoned advisors of the Congress President convinced her as well in 2014, of an ill-advised strategy, and paid a very dear price. From being the strongest state unit in the country for the Congress, it went to 0 MP’s and 0 MLA’s, where it’s likely to stay for a very long time. The Congress thought that by betraying the people of Andhra Pradesh, it would ensure a win in Telangana, and the TRS would merge with it. The Congress had also expected, because of a secret deal between them, that YSRC would win in AP, and would also support them, if not merge. The people of AP are no fools, and Congress was wiped out in both the states, and the YSRC’s devious plans were understood by the people. Please don’t be of the opinion, that the BJP will fare any better, if it treads the wrong path. The YSRC is now again trying to fool the people of AP. They are praising the Budget, cozying up to the Central Government, shifting the blame from the Central Government and the BJP, to the AP government and to the TDP.
The people of AP are no fools. They know that YSRC needs to support whoever is in power in the center, in order to keep their leader out of jail. Today it may be you, tomorrow it may not. And what is the message you will send to the country by supporting the party, whose founder and president is the poster boy for corruption in India? If you think that the YSRC would make a better alliance partner in AP, it would be a serious lapse of judgment and morality. There is a saying: You can fool some of the people, all of the time..
You can fool all of the people, some of the time.. But you can’t fool all of the people, all of the time.
And let me assure you, Mr. FM and Mr. PM, the TDP and the people of Andhra Pradesh, are no fools. We demand an explanation. Our CM has visited Delhi 29 times. He has met PM, FM, HM and every concerned Minister to get the promises and assurances fulfilled. He has submitted report after report. Its shameful for the government to still say they are waiting for information or still examining. Sir, there are 19 items to be fulfilled related to the AP Reorganisation Act 2014. Sir, Where is the budget for fulfilling your promises and assurances?
1. Coming to Special Package:
I wish to remind the hon. FM what he had said on 7th September, 2016, while announcing the Special Financial Package to the State of AP. Sir, he said: “GOI will support AP to the hilt.” Nothing has been done since then. The Government cannot take our patience for granted. Not allocating and even not mentioning about the Special Financial Package to AP in Budget is injustice and deceiving the people of AP. Secondly, when FM came to Amaravati to lay the foundation-stone for administrative city, CM of AP requested for exemption of Capital Gains Tax till the first sale of developed land in the capital region. Sir, this falls in my Parliamentary Constituency. FM assured that he would consider this request sympathetically, but the exemption has been given for only 2 years. So, I request that it should be given till the first sale of land.
Thirdly, the House is aware that AP is being given financial package due to immense loss it has suffered after bifurcation. House is also very well aware that financial packages with different nomenclatures were announced to various States and regions earlier and we also
know the fate of those. So, looking at the past experience, people of AP are apprehensive that this financial package may also meet the same fate. Hence, there have been numerous demands from various quarters and also from the CM of AP for giving legislative backing to the entire Special Financial Package announced on September 7, 2016, and also to implement the package in a fixed time-frame. In view of the above, I demand FM, through this House, to immediately release financial package announced and also give legislative backing to the Special Financial Package to legitimize the announcement made by Finance Minister. I am sure, he would reply to this when he replies to the debate.
2. PM Assurance during bifurcation
The Gov. of India promised to give equal amount that SCS would get under Special Package. Secondly, PM assured on the Floor of Rajya Sabha that special development package would be given for 7 backward districts of Rayalaseema and North Coastal Andhra and it will be on the lines of Koraput-Bolangir-Kalahandi Special Plan in Odisha and the Bundelkhand Special Package in Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. But, so far the GOI has given just Rs. 1050 crores (at Rs.50 crores per district every year for three years). While the package given to KBK and Bundelkhand is Rs. 6,000 crores, only Rs1050 Crores is given to AP and this even the Rs.50 Crores is stopped this year. We want that package, not pittance to backward districts.
GoAP has submitted a revised proposal of Rs. 54,000 crores as per 2014-15 estimates. Out of this nearly 30,000 crores are meant for compensation to be paid for land acquisition and R & R. So, I only request the FM and PM to approve the revised estimates of Polavaram.
4. Railway Zone & Vizag and Vijayawada Metro
Hon. FM has announced allocation of Rs. 17,000 crores for Bangalore Metro and approved Rs. 51,000 crores for Mumbai Suburban railway network, but there is no mention about Metro in Visakhapatnam and Vijayawada. It is obvious that FM’s announcement for Bangalore is because there are Assembly elections in Karnataka and not in AP. How is it justified? Does it not mean that you are deviating from your own path of talking only of vikas and there would not be any politics on developmental issues? Yesterday, hon. Railway Minister made a statement in the other House on Railway Zone. He said and I quote, “Changing the Zone and the contours of any Zone involves consultations with a lot of other States…after we finish the consultation with all the States we will find out a viable method by which there is no dispute.” This should have been done by now. This statement by hon. Railway Minister is understood by the people of AP as delaying tactics as the Railway Zone is part of the AP Reorganisation Act which this Government is supposed to implement.
Section 94(3) says:
“The Central Government shall provide special financial support for the creation of essential facilities in the new capital of the successor State of Andhra Pradesh including the Raj Bhawan, High Court, Government Secretariat, Legislative Assembly, Legislative Council, and such other essential infrastructure.” It is ‘the Central Government shall provide’ assistance.
Provisional estimates indicate requirement of Rs. 1.2 lakh crores for construction of the new capital Amaravati.
For essential infrastructure, including the Raj Bhawan, Secretariat, High Court, Legislative Assembly and Council and land development is estimated to cost around Rs 42,935 crores over the next five years.
But in 3 years, you have provided:
500 crores in 2014-15 550 crores in 2015-16 450 crores in 2016-17 Nothing more has been given. Rs. 1000 crores has been given for specific projects in Vijayawada and Guntur. So, I request FM to release, at least, 10,000 crores annually so that in 4-5 years 42,935 crores can be given to construct Raj Bhawan, Secretariat, High Court, Assembly, etc.
FM made a statement in Rajya Sabha and said that he has directed Expenditure Secretary to sit with officials from AP and finalize about deficit budget. Officials from AP have reached today and would be discussing with Expenditure Secretary and others. So, I will speak about it only after the outcome of those meetings.
6. Allocations to Institutions:
Coming to allocations to various institutions mandated to be set up in AP as per AP Reorganisation Act, they are pittance. With such paltry allocations every year, it would take 10-30 years for these institutions to become a reality.
AIIMS. Sir, it is in my Parliamentary Constituency. The estimated cost is 1618 crores. But, so far, not even a single penny has been allocated. This year some money given to AIIMS in various States, but there is no specific mention about AIIMS in AP.
So, in the same way, I have figures for every institution and allocations to others such as Vizag Steel Plant, Dredging Corporation of India, Hindustan Shipyard, Vizag Port Trust, etc. where the allocations are miniscule. The overall allocations made to AP, comes to Rs. 1,814.46 crores and it is no exaggeration when I say that Bahubali movie’s box office collections were more than the funds allocated to Andhra Pradesh in the Union Budget.
If the people of AP gave 0 seats to the Congress for passing the AP Reorganization Act, imagine what they would think about the BJP for not even fulfilling even the minimum requirements contained in this Act.
We demand an explanation, failing which, we will have no option than to consider you acting in bad faith, and will certainly have to reconsider why we are in this relationship. I’m sure you will understand. As will your other allies and potential allies in this very crucial election year. This is your last chance to fulfill your promises and assurances, and to maintain the Alliance Dharma, which we have maintained till now, very patiently. It gives us no joy to be in this position, and to deliver this message to a friend and ally, but you have given us no other choice. It’s now or never. We still have belief and trust in you Mr. FM and Mr. PM, but we demand a comprehensive explanation, and we are no fools.