Demand special status:Non-resident Indians across the world held protests this week demanding that the Indian government fulfil its promises made to Andhra Pradesh, including granting the Special Category Status (SCS) to the state.Besides several cities in the US, demonstrations took place in countries like Australia and in parts of the Middle East, which have a large NRI population.People gathered at designated protest sites with banners and placards that had slogans such as ‘AP demands justice’, ‘Save Andhra Pradesh’ and ‘Special Status is our right’. Several of the demonstrations held in US cities were silent protests.Speaking to media outlets, those who had organised the protests said that they were troubled by the ongoing developments back home and the ‘injustice’ being meted out to their state.The protesters demanded that the Centre fulfil all promises that were made during the state’s bifurcation in 2014, which left Andhra Pradesh without a capital.With over 3.2 lakh Telugu people residing in the US, Telugu has the distinction of being the third-most spoken Indian language in the country. According to the US Census Bureau’s 2012-2016 American Community Survey five-year estimates data release, 3,21,695 people over the age of five speak Telugu at home.The two states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh also send the highest number of students from India to the US every year. Most Telugu students who pass out of American universities work in the computer and software sector in the US, while some return home after securing degrees to work in India.The protest by the NRIs comes even as MPs from the state have been intentionally creating a ruckus and causing the adjournment of Parliament proceedings. The deadlock over the TDP’s demand for special category status to Andhra continued on Monday, as a meeting between party leaders and Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley failed to make a breakthrough.
Due to this, the TDP, a partner in the BJP-led NDA government, decided to continue its protest in the Parliament over its demands.State Finance Minister Y Ramakrishnudu, who led the TDP delegation, told reporters after the meeting with Arun Jaitley that they stuck to their demand for special status. The party also insisted that the Centre bridge the Rs 16,000-crore revenue deficit and extend industrial incentives to AP at par with other states.Ramakrishnudu said that Jaitley assured them that he would discuss the issue with other ministers and have another meeting. He, however, said the TDP would continue its protest in Parliament.
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