AAP demands special status for Punjab, inclusion in list of special category states
AAP legislator Kanwar Sandhu has also written to Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh, seeking an all-party meeting on these issues.punjab Updated: Apr 19, 2018 21:00 IST
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has demanded special status for Punjab and its inclusion in the list of special category states. It has also sought a revision in Terms of Reference (TOR) of the 15th Finance Commission.
AAP legislator Kanwar Sandhu, who has made the demand, released two separate letters to Union finance minister Arun Jaitley in this connection at a press conference in Chandigarh on Thursday. Sandhu has also written to Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh, seeking an all-party meeting on these issues. Leader of opposition Sukhpal Khaira was also present.
“Punjab has a much stronger case than even states like Andhra Pradesh, which are seeking special status and inclusion in the list of special category states. While special status will help meet the political aspirations of its people through legitimate legislative means, its inclusion in the special category will help it come out of the economic and financial mess,” he said.
The AAP MLA further said that if TOR of the 15th Finance Commission was not revised, Punjab would be harder hit in terms of devolution of funds from the Centre than states like Karnataka and Kerala, which were also making a similar demand.
In his first letter to Jaitley, Sandhu argued that Punjab had not been included in the list of special category states despite it fulfilling three of the five parameters namely strategic location along the borders of the country, economic and infrastructure backwardness, and non-viable nature of state finances (other two being, hilly and difficult terrain and low population density).
At present, 11 of the 28 states are on the special category states list, which included the hill states of J&K, HP and Uttarakhand, which adversely affected Punjab’s industry. “Not only is all this making Punjab vulnerable to hostile designs of neighbours, it is resulting in flight of valuable human resources to foreign lands,” he said.