Ongole: As the Centre grapples with conflicting demand for special category status (SCS) from many states, Lok Satta founder president Jayaprakash Narayan has suggested a compromise formula for according SCS to Andhra Pradesh without hurting the interests of other States.
Maintaining that Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa was in a way right demanding any industrial incentives given to Andhra Pradesh should be extended to her State as well, Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan told reporters that the Centre could consider providing income tax and Excise duty concessions to about 60 to 70 backward districts in the country, including those in Rayalaseema and north coastal Andhra as a via media. In this manner, Andhra Pradesh with its vast coastline could leapfrog in growth when compared to other states without inviting objections from other states, he added.
He termed too minimal the concessions like the additional depreciation and 15 per cent investment allowance on the cost of plant and machinery during 2015-2020 period promised by the Centre to the State.
Full funding of the Polavaram irrigation project was a blessing to the beleaguered State though its construction progressed at a snail's pace, he said.
He opined that the second major sea port in the public sector should be set up in Ramayapatnam as it was most suited for the project when compared to Dugarajapatnam, which was close to avian paradise of Pulicat lake andeconomically unviable because of its closeness to Krishnapatnam, Ennore and Chennai ports. Vast stretches of the government land was available in Prakasam district which had originally been preferred for setting up the project by the State Cabinet before Dugarajapatnam got the Centre’s nod but without any progress in grounding, he added.
He also pressed for devolution of Rs. 5,000-crore funds from the State to gram panchayats and wards to allow the civic issues to be addressed by local bodies themselves.
He called for a thorough revamp of the education system as according to a survey India stood at 73rd position among 74 countries in terms of skills exhibited by children in the areas of mathematics, reading and science.
Courtesy: The Hindu