The 15th Finance Commission on a visit to Andhra Pradesh, Thursday said it could not look into the issue of grant of special category as it did not form part of its Terms of Reference.
Chairman of the commission N K Singh, who along with other members held consultations with the state government on financial devolution, said Chief Minister N Chandrababu, Naidu forcefully raised the issue at the meeting to enable the state attain a level playing field with other southern states.
However, the issue of such a status did not form 'directly or indirectly or remotely' part of the rather detailed Terms of Reference given to it, Singh said.
He also said the absence of an institutional mechanism to oversee the implementation of the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014, could be the reason for the current imbroglio over the special category status. "In all other previous Reorganisation Acts, there has been an implementation mechanism.
Noting that the 15th Finance Commissions report was crucial since it comes at an inflexion point in the Indian growth dynamics, he said for India to grow at 8-9 per cent, Andhra Pradesh must be assisted,
helped in growing at over double-digit numbers over a sustained period of time. Responding to the Chief Ministers plea for all assistance to the state that suffered heavily because of the 'unscientific' bifurcation, the Finance Commission Chairman assured to take positive action.
We recognise how the (state) bifurcation took place and the enormous burden it placed on you. We assure you of our positive action, Singh added.
(With inputs from agencies.)