"The proposal to accord special category status to Andhra Pradesh is still under consideration," the Commission's official spokesperson said, adding no decision has, however, been taken on this yet.
     
Earlier in March, the Union Cabinet, headed by then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, had directed the Commission to accord the special category status to successor of Andhra Pradesh (Seemandhra) for five years.
    
Singh had announced in the Rajya Sabha on February 21 that special category status would be extended to Seemandhra for five years.
    
Earlier in its presentation to Rao Inderjit Singh, the Commission said "Andhra Pradesh does not meet NDC criteria (for special category state)."
    
The special category status to various states is accorded by NDC based on consideration of a set criteria.
    
The criteria include hilly and difficult terrain; low population density and or sizeable share of tribal population; strategic location along borders with neighbouring countries; economic and infrastructure backwardness and non-viable nature of state finances.
    
About according special category status to Seemandhra, the Commission had recently pointed out in the presentation that any such proposal would have to be endorsed by the country's apex planning body National Development Council (NDC) headed by the Prime Minister with Cabinet ministers and all chief ministers on its board.
    
Andhra Pradesh has been recently bifurcated into two states -- Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. There are demands for according special category status from states, including Bihar, Rajasthan, Odisha and Jharkhand.

Naidu vows to provide graft-free government

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu said his government will strive to provide a transparent and corruption-free administration as he unveiled a roadmap for the state post-division.

Addressing a media conference after presiding over the first Cabinet meeting here of his government, he said a Cabinet Sub-Committee will be constituted to protect state-owned lands from encroachment and usurpation.

"The TDP-led government's main aim is to provide a corruption-free administration. All government lands will be protected. The TDP government is for the poor and will work for their welfare," he asserted.
    
Naidu said the coastal and Rayalaseema regions will be developed in equal manner and Vijayawada, Tirupati and Visakhapatnam transformed into mega cities.

The government was committed to develop the state by providing necessary infrastructure and other facilities, said Naidu, who presided over the Cabinet meet at the Andhra University campus here.

"With a view to give equal importance to all regions, the (TDP) legislature party meeting was held at Tirupati, oath -taking ceremony near Nagurjuna University between Guntur and Vijayawada and the first Cabinet meeting of the new government at Visakhapatnam," he said.
    
"It is a historic event as for the first time Cabinet met outside the state capital," he added.

He said the Cabinet decided to develop 14 major towns into mega cities. Given the state's poor financial condition, the Centre's help was very essential to build a new capital which requires Rs four to five lakh crore, he said.

The Chief Minister said the government will bring out a "white paper" highlighting the financial status of the state over the last ten years.

The document will cover issues like human resources development, infrastructure, irrigation, agriculture, power and financial resource mobilization.

"This step, after public debate, must highlight the lack of level playing field available to Andhra Pradesh due to the bifurcation," Naidu said.
    
The administration will provide 24-hour power supply in the state with the cooperation of the BJP-led government at the Centre, where TDP is an alliance partner, he said.

Committed to loan waiver for farmers: CM

Chandrababu Naidu on Thursday said his government was committed to providing a loan waiver to farmers, as promised in the election manifesto of TDP.

Addressing a press conference after the first Cabinet meeting here today, Naidu said the government had already constituted a committee in this regard, which will submit its report on June 22.

 (Agencies)

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