Just one week ahead of the Union Budget 2016-17, Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu sought to remind the Centre of its promises made during the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh. At collector’s conference here on Monday, the Chief Minister pointed out that the budget deficit in Andhra Pradesh was estimated to be Rs. 16,079 crore. The Centre, however, released mere Rs. 2,300 crore so far for the purpose of meeting expenses on different heads. The Central government, as part of the AP Reorganisation Act, had promised to bridge the projected revenue deficit. Time and again we are reminding the Centre in this regard. We negotiating with the Centre,” he said. The Centre had provided Rs. 850 crore towards the capital construction in two tranches of Rs. 350 crore and Rs. 500 crore and an additional Rs. 1,000 crore was given as a special grant for improving civic amenities in Guntur and Vijayawada cities. The government sought Rs. 200 crore each for the seven backward districts — four in Rayalaseema and three in north coastal Andhra — in place of Rs. 50 crore each granted in the last two financial years, he said. Another Rs. 200-crore grant was given under different heads. Special status Making a strong pitch for according special status to Andhra Pradesh until a level playing field among AP, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Telangana State was reached, Mr. Naidu said: “There are many big cities in those cities that witness rapid development and are centres of economic growth. We are expecting handholding from the Centre until AP could compete with them.” For the record, the State government is pining hopes on the Union budget this year. After his recent Delhi visit, Mr. Naidu said that the Centre was asked to make the necessary allocation in the coming forthcoming budget session so that the State would get a level playing field. The government had already requested the Centre to take immediate steps to sanction additional funds to the State to overcome the huge revenue deficit it is facing post-bifurcation. Mr. Naidu had already indicated that the budget deficit would continue till the end of the financial year 2019. It was only Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir States that would follow AP in budget deficit three years after now, he said.