The BJP at the Centre is not likely to feel intimidated by the Telugu Desam's Party's threat of snapping the alliance, IYR Krishna Rao, former chief secretary of AP observed. Participating in a live discussion on Sakshi TV moderated by well-known journalist, Kommineni Srinivasa Rao, he used a Telugu proverb, which loosely translated and paraphrased would mean, "why be afraid of something which you are bound to lose?'
He also pointed out that it was evident that the BJP was keen on expanding its footprint in the state.
Corruption and wasteful expenditure should be curbed if Andhra Pradesh has to prosper, he said In response to a question on the investments received by AP, the former civil servant said that the government itself would have benefited had it released exact figures on this subject. Instead, it kept the figures opaque, he added.
The former Chief Secretary also said that for the government to promise loan waivers to farmers, was to make a big commitment. When reminded that the TDP government claims that loan waivers had been carried out, Krishna Rao replied that people will wonder why they have not received the money and the truth will automatically come out. On the issue of revenue surplus which the latest budget shows, Krishna Rao said that there seemed to be some unclear strategy to it and that the figures did not seem to add up. Simply put, on the one hand, the state leadership had been constantly complaining about insufficient funds and on the other, we find a budget surplus in the figures projected. Some piece of the puzzle seemed to be missing, was his analysis. “If it ( the budget) is padded up, it is wrong”, he said and “if the figures are true, in the range of Rs. 3 lakh crores, then Andhra Pradesh is doing well,” he said.
With regard to Special Category Status to Andhra Pradesh, he said that from the time that the state had been talking about a special package and its benefits, the SCS idea got completely cancelled out, or relegated to the backburner. He added that he had also written in his column that the Leader of Opposition in AP, YS Jagan Mohan Reddy remained the only consistent champion of SCS to AP.
Krishna Rao also pointed out that there were media curbs in AP. He narrated his own experience wherein a leading channel invited him for a live discussion and when he reached the studios, he was told that due to a technical problem, the live discussion had to be cancelled. As it turned out, he saw later that the live discussion was indeed happening. It could only be surmised that the channel had to go about the discussion without him under pressure from higher authorities. He had also tweeted on this particular instance:
On the subject of expenditure being made by the state government, he said that wasteful expenditure was a matter of concern. The spending power of the state had to be factored in, when thousands of crores were involved, he said. He clarified that spending such large amounts was not an easy task. Krishna Rao said, “one year of bad spending will lead to one hundred scandals.”Krishna Rao pointed out that if 200 crore
per district had been given, then there should be an action plan and it should be shared with the people. How is it being spent,? This is what people would need to know.
Referring to higher growth rate in Andhra Pradesh, the formal civil servant said that growth rate in AP has been high since 2000. If it is 11% now it is nothing to write home about compared to 2000. It is in this context that growth rate should be seen, he observed. When asked to draw a comparison between the Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao and Chandrababu Naidu, Krishna Rao said that KCR seemed
to apply deep thinking and political insight to his governance. On the other hand, Chandrababu Naidu, who in his earlier stint had the support of a good team, did not seem to have one now, and this was very evident in his governance, he remarked.
When a questioner on the live interaction asked Krishna Rao why AP could not opt for a local architect or team of engineers and instead chose to pick foreign agencies, he agreed with him and said that what was needed was an indigenous
design. He said that earlier also meaning no disrespect to the film director Rajamouli, he had commented that what was needed was an indigenous design for the capital and not something resembling a film set. The architecture could be
Buddhist in nature, taking into account the great Buddhist heritage of Amaravati or it could be part, Hindu-part Buddhist with an element of Satavahana culture also, he observed. Krishna Rao said that when he was in government service, he felt bound by the rules of service whereas now as a retired civil servant, he enjoyed complete freedom to speak with candour.