Andhra planning to take Central Govt to court now
Amaravati: The TDP government in Andhra Pradesh, which has openly voiced its pique about `inadequate' allocation for the state in the Union Budget, is planning to drag the Union government to the Supreme Court over the issue of Central grants, a senior official said on Tuesday.
Relations between the allies TDP and BJP have come under strain over the issue of allocation of funds for the state. TDP MPs raised the issue vociferously in Parliament earlier this month. The state government has already filed a contempt petition last week, alleging non-compliance of Supreme Court directives on distribution of assets between Andhra Pradesh and Telangana by the BJP-led NDA government.
The bone of contention is the quantum of revenue deficit that needs to be bridged by the Centre, said a senior state official. The state calculated the deficit for 2014-15 (following the bifurcation of united Andhra Pradesh) at Rs 16,078.76 crore, while the Centre released a grant of Rs 2,303 crore, bringing down the net revenue deficit to Rs 13,775.76 crore, the official said.
"Of this (balance deficit) the Centre has released Rs 3,979.50 crore. The Government of India now says the state's total entitlement is only Rs 4,117.89 crore," said AP State Planning Board Vice-Chairman Kutumba Rao.
During a recent meeting with the Union Expenditure Secretary, the state officials presented revised figures of revenue deficit after omitting Rs 7,070 crore towards farmers debt redemption scheme.
"The Expenditure Secretary agreed that their calculations were wrong and the actual revenue deficit stood at Rs 7,509 crore. But still they are not ready to release even the balance amount (Rs 3,520.50 crore) and say we will get only Rs 138.39 crore more," Rao said. The state government also told the Centre that AP did not pay many bills, adding up to Rs 8,100 crore, which were carried forward to the next financial year. It wanted the Centre to add this to the revenue deficit.
"We requested the Centre to constitute a committee headed by former RBI governor Y V Reddy or someone else to determine the exact amount and pay us accordingly. But they are disinclined to do that," Rao claimed.
According to AP officials, though the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014 does not provide for Centre making allocations for the state's revenue deficit, then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had given an assurance in the Rajya Sabha to this effect on February 20, 2014 before the bill was passed.
"The Centre has taken a stubborn stand. We have offered alternative solutions to resolve the dispute but to no avail. We are now left with no option but to take the Centre to court. Necessary paperwork is being done to file a petition in the Supreme Court in the next few days," a key government functionary said. The state government has also filed a contempt petition over the Centre's `failure' to implement a 2015 ruling of the apex court. The SC had ordered that the assets of united Andhra Pradesh be distributed between AP and Telangana in the ratio of 58:42 (the population ratio), but the Centre ordered that immovable properties be apportioned on the basis of location.