Kommineni Srinivasa Rao

Andhra Pradesh presents a rather gloomy picture on the economic front based on reports emerging from the state. Chandrababu Naidu, who loses no opportunity to brag about his experience of 14 years in politics, has landed the state in a deep economic muddle. Andhra Pradesh is now reeling under an economic crisis with an overdraft of more than Rs. 1.5 lakh crores and unpaid bills amounting approximately to Rs.44,000 crores.

It is tragic that Chandrababu, who claims to have reformed the economic condition of undivided Andhra Pradesh, has now landed the state in a deep financial crisis. Further, last minute welfare schemes like Pasupu-Kumkuma for women’s self-help groups and Annadata Sukheebhava for farmers are an indirect admission of the failure of his governance over 5 years. Women got Rs.10,000 under this scheme while farmers, Rs. 3,000 and this was publicised as a major achievement of the TDP government under Chandrababu.

If anything, this government wasted precious financial resources indiscriminately over the past five years. In the process, Chandrababu Naidu has probably set a new record— he spent crores of rupees on 5 to 6 official houses he built for himself at the taxpayer’s expense. He spent crores of rupees for the hotel stay of his family members for long spells, not to speak of the massive amounts of expenditure incurred on his chamber in the state secretariat in the joint capital of Hyderabad, as well as the Lake view guesthouse.

After he moved to Vijayawada once the Note for Vote case broke out, Chandrababu repeated the same act of spending crores of rupees on his official residences. The TDP chief always moved in a helicopter or a chartered flight. In other words, Chandrababu Naidu, who ruled more like a medieval autocrat or emperor, rather than a democratically elected chief minister of the modern era.

The TDP chief created a new set up in the name of CMFS, independent of the finance ministry and ruled the roost over precious financial resources of the state. Reports have been coming in saying that using this system he passed bills as per his choice. As a result of this, a senior official had to go on leave, it is being said.

It was further reported that nearly Rs.44,000 crore worth bills are pending in the finance ministry. Never in the past did Andhra Pradesh have to face such a serious financial crisis with so many bills waiting for settlement. The TDP government seems to have given preference to irrelevant expenditure over important constructive development work of the state. This has landed the state in financial mess.

The Chandrababu government invented ingenious ways of borrowing money without the means to repay and indulged in indiscriminate wastage of finances. As soon as the new financial year began, the TDP government went in for a loan of Rs.8000 crores. This itself shows the mess AP finds itself in financially. The state was warned repeatedly by RBI and the Centre in the matter of overdrafts.

The worst part of it is the diabolical motive of the TDP to buy votes of the people with their money. This may cost them dearly as we will know in about three weeks time. What emerges from the state of affairs in Andhra Pradesh is that if YSR Congress party comes to power, it will find it very difficult to take up expenditure for any welfare scheme considering the deep crisis the state is in.

The odd thing about the experience of the two senior leaders of TDP is that while Chandrababu Naidu has 14 years of experience as chief minister, Yanamala Ramakrishnudu spent 10 years as Finance Minister. What is their grand achievement over the past five years—plunging the state into an unprecedented economic crisis through wasteful expenditure and staggering debts. This will prove to be the first major obstacle which YS Jagan will have to surmount when he comes to power.

Also Read: Chandrababu Redefines Democracy