Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy on Thursday asked senior officials to improve the state's revenue sources so that they can fund Navaratnalu and other welfare schemes as promised in the YSRCP's manifesto. Jagan instructed officials to expedite mining works, acquired by APMDC (Andhra Pradesh Mineral Development Corporation) in Brahmadiha coal block in Jharkhand, Suliyari in Madhya Pradesh and Madanpur South Coal Mines in Chhattisgarh in the stipulated time.
"Focus on high revenue mining activities and expedite the works related to silica sand by coordinating with APIIC (Andhra Pradesh Industrial Infrastructure Corporation)," said the Chief Minister.
In his instructions to the Forest Department, Jagan told the officials to procure permission from the Union government to sell the red sanders stocks lying in the state. He told forest officials to take steps on a war footing to get the work done with transparency, without room for corruption.
"Officials should focus on revenue-generating sources for the state, conduct regular reviews on these and prepare estimates from time to time," said Jagan.
The Chief Minister also directed the state officials to be prepared with the necessary plans for increasing the revenue sources but without building pressure on people.
Andhra is running several welfare schemes such as Nadu-Nedu, Goru Mudda, Amma Vodi, Kapu Nestham and many others. Many of these schemes are part of the â€˜Navaratnaluâ€™ promises that were made during the election campaign that led to a massive victory for the YSRCP in the 2019 Assembly elections.
By 2019, the state was already faced with a massive debt burden. The state's debts, which stood at Rs 1,30,654 crore in 2014-15, had reached a whopping Rs 2,58,928 crore by 2018-19, under the previous TDP government. The YSRCP governmentâ€™s welfare schemes have further resulted in a huge debt on the state exchequer, according to reports. By the end of November 2020, the stateâ€™s gross debt burden increased to Rs 3,73,140 crore, according to a report by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG).
According to PTI, from April to November 2020 alone, Rs 73,811.85 crore was borrowed from different sources, exceeding the stateâ€™s annual borrowing target for the year of Rs 48,295.59 crore. In the month of November alone, the government borrowed Rs 13,001 crore to foot the bill for its various welfare schemes.
The government has also created a new entity called the State Development Corporation exclusively to raise loans from banks like SBI, Canara Bank and Punjab National Bank. At the beginning of 2021, the government had already secured an amount of Rs 10,000 crore from these banks, according to PTI, and another loan of Rs 3,000 crore was awaited as another annual cycle of financial assistance was to be disbursed under various welfare schemes.
Recently, Andhra Pradesh became one of the first states to qualify for additional borrowing rights for capital expenditure from the Union Ministry of Finance, having completed three of four reforms stipulated by the Finance Ministry. These reforms include the One Nation, One Ration Card reforms, Ease of Doing Business reforms; and Urban Local Bodies reforms.
Under the Union governmentâ€™s scheme of â€˜Special Assistance to States for Capital Expenditure" announced as part of Atma Nirbhar Bharat package, Andhra Pradesh had qualified for an additional amount of Rs 344 crore.
(With PTI and IANS inputs)