Andhra Finance Minister- The New Indian Express

By Express News Service

VIJAYAWADA: Maintaining that the State government’s borrowings were within permissible limits, Finance Minister Buggana Rajendranath blamed the ‘financial indiscipline and reckless borrowing’ during the previous TDP regime for the current economic crisis. In a press release on Saturday, he stated that the government has spent Rs 7,130.19 crore to combat Covid-19 though the State’s revenue declined considerably due to the pandemic.

Giving details of the amount spent for school education, social welfare pensions, YSR Asara, YSR Cheyutha, YSR zero interest loan and other schemes meant to provide succour to people during the pandemic, Buggana accused the Opposition TDP of conspiring to defame the YSRC government by resorting to misinformation and malicious campaign. 

“It is not befitting for an Opposition party to mislead people about the State’s economy with lies. The TDP should not forget that a lie cannot become truth even if it is repeated multiple times,” he observed. Pointing out that the erstwhile united Andhra Pradesh was a revenue surplus State, where the debt did not exceed Rs 10,000 crore at any time, he asked the TDP on what basis did it claim that the total debt was Rs 32,000 crore when it took over the reins of the State post-bifurcation. 

“The total debt burden was apportioned on population basis at the time of bifurcation, while assets were divided based on their geographical location, doing severe injustice to our State,” he explained.

‘Loans raised by previous TDP govt worsened finances’

Elaborating further, he said AP’s share of debt was Rs 1,18,544.34 crore after bifurcation in 2014. The previous government increased the debt burden to Rs 2,57,509.85 crore between 2014-15 and 2018-19. 
Further, the total dues pertaining to the energy department, which were Rs 31,647.64 crore in 2014-15, increased to Rs 62,463 crore in 2018-19. The dues of Discoms to power producers rose to Rs 20,121.97 crore in 2018-19 from Rs 4,817.69 crore in 2014-15, he mentioned.

The Finance Minister said the previous government raised loans to the tune of  Rs 20,000 crore on AP Civil Supplies Corporation, Rs 3,000 crore on AP Road Development Corporation, Rs 4,000 crore on AP Water Resources Development Corporation, Rs 5,014 crore on APCRDA, Rs 4,601.59 crore on APTIDCO, Rs 2,000 crore on Rythu Sadhikara Samstha, Rs 1,356 crore on APSRTC, Rs 980 crore on AP Drinking Water Corporation, Rs 1,870 crore on AP State Housing Corporation and Rs 10,000 crore on other small corporations. “In all, the previous TDP regime raised loans to the tune of Rs 1 lakh crore on various corporations. Further, in the last two years of its five-year regime, it borrowed huge amounts with a moratorium of 2-3 years and the burden of loan repayment fell on our government. Due to borrowing of Rs 16,419 crore by the previous government from public accounts, in addition to State Development Loans (SDLs), the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) limit of AP was reduced during Covid (2021-22),” he stated.

According to Buggana, the State’s borrowing value will be in proportion to the GSDP as per the FRBM Act. In 2014-15, the State’s GSDP was Rs 5,26,470 crore and the borrowing limit was Rs 15,794.1 crore (3% of GSDP). In 2018-19, the GSDP was Rs 9,33,402 crore and the burrowing limit was Rs 28,002.06 crore.  “Under Atma Nirbhar Bharat package, an additional 2% borrowing has been allowed and our government has borrowed as per the limits only,” he explained. 

Unlike the TDP regime which resorted to wayward expenditure in the name of Neeru-Chettu, foreign tours, partnership summits and Nava Nirmana Deekhsa, he claimed that the YSRC government has provided Rs 1,05,102.22 crore of the total Rs 1,27,105.81 crore borrowed to farmers, women, students and pensioners under various DBT schemes. “Every rupee spent is accounted for…” 

The YSRC government has provided Rs 1,05,102.22 cr of Rs 1,27,105.81 cr borrowed to ryots, women, students and pensioners under various DBT schemes, said Buggana Rajendranath.

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