09 Feb 2018 13:08 IST

Jaitley promises to resolve Andhra Pradesh’s problems

‘Details on defence deals not being disclosed as revealing them could endanger national security’

Attempting to calm irate MPs from the Telugu Desam Party, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley promised to speed up the resolution of issues around the implementation of the AP Reorganisation Act.

Replying to discussions on the General Budget in the Lok Sabha, Jaitley said that the Centre has been providing funds for the creation of institutions in Andhra Pradesh and would continue to do so for all the institutions mentioned in the AP Reorganisation Act as and when they are built.

Two sticking points

He highlighted two areas that are yet to be sorted out and promised quick resolution. One related to providing an amount in lieu of a special package and the second to the revenue deficit.

On both issues, new arrangements have been worked out between the officials of the Centre and the State government and could be implemented once the State accepts them, he said.

The Finance Minister also said that issues around the Railways and Petroleum will also be sorted out in consultation with the ministries concerned.

Jaitley said that the Centre had already made payments for creation of a new capital for Andhra Pradesh and also towards backward districts. For the Polavaram project, an amount of ₹4,500 crore has been provided through NABARD. The Centre has also agreed to undertake substantial expenditure for the Polavaram project, he noted.

“We are extremely sympathetic to the people of Andhra Pradesh and will look into each issue sympathetically,” he said.

Rafale deal

Reacting to Opposition demands that the cost structure of the Rafale deal be disclosed to Parliament, Jaitley said that details of armaments purchases cannot be revealed as this would compromise the nation’s security interests.

He pointed out that the UPA regime had, during its 10-year rule, rejected similar requests stating that national security was at stake. “My charge against you is now you are seriously compromising national security by seeking details of the Rafale deal,” Jaitley said, in response to an intervention by Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, who said the government was accountable to Parliament for expenditure incurred by it. “We are as much accountable to Parliament as UPA was during its regime,” Jaitley added.