Rama Krishna Sangem
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy on February 6, Tuesday made a blistering attack against former CM Chandrababu Naidu and his associates for criticizing there is no capital expenditure in the State in the last five years. “In fact, my government has spent close to Rs 3.50 lakh crore on human capital expenditure in Andhra Pradesh, that is huge compared to the previous TDP r egime,” said Jagan.
CM Jagan made a detailed power point presentation in the State assembly as part of his speech thanking the Governor’s speech in the House earlier. Jagan demolished the argument of his critics that he hadn’t invested in any capital expenditure since 2019 and had only splurged monies on welfare schemes. “They call me as a CM who only presses buttons and sends money to the poor and neglected all development, but that is not right,” said Jagan.
Jagan who faces elections to the state assembly along with Lok Sabha in next two to three months took on Naidu and all those who attacked him for neglected development in AP since 2019. Jagan termed some media houses like Eenadu, Andhra Jyothi and TV 5 too as his rivals who spread falsehood on him and finances of AP in the last five years. “These people think that people will believe any repeated falsehood,” said the CM.
This debate over capital expenditure, or Capex vs welfare spending has been dominating Andhra politics for a long time. Naidu and others like Jana Sena and even Congress leaders assail Jagan’s government spending all the money on welfare alone, at the cost of creating infrastructure and jobs. Jagan is derided for his “button pressing governance” – meaning sending money to the bank accounts of beneficiaries by pressing a computer mouse.
Better managed AP in last 5 years
CM Jagan claimed that his government in spite of its revenue constraints, has done well in terms of revenue deficit and creating of GSDP (gross state domestic produce) and adding net borrowing etc. He reeled out statistics and claimed that his government has spent around Rs 70,000 per annum on creating social capital of people like on education, health care and other support systems. This money can’t be termed as waste or mere freebies, he said.
Details of spending
The CM dismissed the charges that Government has made State debt-ridden and said that the State had rolled out DBT welfare schemes worth Rs.2, 55,000crore and non-DBT welfare schemes worth Rs. 1.07,000 crore. The previous government too had the same budget but it could not deliver welfare as the difference speaks in the commitment of the Chief Ministers then and now.
He said that the debt of the residual Andhra Pradesh which stood at Rs. 1, 53,000crore including all types of loans at the time of bifurcation had gone up to Rs. 4, 12, 288crore in 2019 when YSRCP came to power.
Now, the total debt stands at Rs.7, 03,000 crore and it clearly indicates that the growth rate of debt during the TDP rule stood at 21.87 per cent, it stands at 12.13 per cent during the last 5 years, he said, adding that not even a single welfare scheme was implemented during the TDP rule though the budget was the same and the debt-growth rate was higher.
Braving the odds of reduction in devolution of Central funds and reduced tax revenues during the last five years due to several reasons including the Covid-19 pandemic that resulted in Rs. 66,116 crore revenue loss, Government has excelled in fiscal discipline, debt management, planning and implementation of slew of welfare schemes transparently.
The Chief Minister recalled that the state was bifurcated in an unjust manner allocating 50 per cent of the revenues to Telangana that represented 42 per cent of the population and the remaining 50 per cent to residual Andhra Pradesh that has 58 per cent population putting the State to a yearly revenue loss of Rs. 13,000crore.
Coming down heavily against the TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu for making false election promises for political gains, he said that Government needs to spend around more than Rs. 1, 26,000crore annually for fulfilling them.
When we are striving hard to implement DBT and non-DBT welfare schemes worth around Rs. 70,000 crore annually, how can Chandrababu Naidu mobilize Rs. 1, 26,000crore on his false promises, he questioned.
Like a copy cat, Naidu made mix of six election promises at will and pleasure picking them up from the election manifestoes of other parties that won in other states with a view to cheat the people again, the Chief Minister said.
Debunking the theory of wealth creation advocated by the TDP friendly media for implementing the impracticable promises, the Chief Minister asked why Naidu failed in creating wealth during his earlier tenures.
While Chandrababu Naidu stands for lies, this Government stands for credibility, he said, adding that the TDP was shown the door in 2019 with just 23 seats as people understood his nature of telling lies and cheating the people.
Asserting that Naidu only pursued the policy of plunder, stash and devour during his rule, the Chief Minister appealed to the people to think over why Naidu failed to implement even a single welfare scheme during his rule while the budget was the same.
“I sat in the Opposition for five years for not making the false promise of farm loan waiver prior to 2014 elections but I have no regrets for that. I make only promises that can be fulfilled for the benefit of the people,” he said, asserting that YSRCP won a permanent place in the hearts of the people with its credibility. However CM Jagan expressed confidence that he would come back to power in next elections and present a full fledged budget for 2024-25.