“TDP and JD(U) push for special status: Significance and Implications”

"TDP and JD(U) push for special status: Significance and Implications"

"TDP and JD(U) push for special status: Significance and Implications"

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Two key political entities, the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and Janata Dal (United) [JD(U)], are advocating for special status designation for their respective states, Andhra Pradesh and Bihar. The significance of this designation lies in its potential to address the developmental challenges faced by states with geographical and socio-economic disadvantages.

The recent Lok Sabha elections saw the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) falling short of a majority, necessitating alliances to form a coalition government. Notably, TDP’s N Chandrababu Naidu and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar emerged as influential figures, dubbed ‘kingmakers,’ in supporting the Prime Minister’s bid for a third consecutive term.

As the political landscape prepares for Narendra Modi’s anticipated swearing-in on June 9, demands for special status designation have surfaced. Former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister has been vocal about the state’s need for special status, echoing the sentiment of Nitish Kumar, who has persistently advocated for Bihar’s recognition in this regard since 2005.

The concept of special category status, though not constitutionally defined, originated from the recommendations of the 5th Finance Commission. Initially granted to states like Jammu & Kashmir, Assam, and Nagaland based on the Gadgil Formula, it aims to bolster states facing various challenges such as hilly terrain, low population density, significant tribal populations, and economic backwardness.

The benefits of special category status are substantial. While these states historically received around 30% of central assistance, recent developments, including recommendations by the 14th and 15th Finance Commissions, have increased this to 41%. Additionally, special category states enjoy higher funding percentages for centrally-sponsored schemes, significant tax concessions, and a substantial allocation of the Centre’s budget.

The criteria for determining special category states remain rooted in factors like hilly terrain, low population density, tribal population, strategic location, and economic backwardness. Andhra Pradesh’s demand for this status, coupled with Bihar’s historical advocacy, underscores the importance of this designation in addressing the unique challenges faced by these states.

As political leaders continue to push for special status, the discourse around its implications for states’ development and financial well-being remains pertinent.