NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman Rajiv Kumar on Friday visited Andhra Pradesh's capital Amaravati and expressed deep concern over the state's massive revenue deficit. This was followed by a high-level meeting with Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy and several other top bureaucrats and ministers in the state, on several issues.
"The revenue deficit appears to be worrisome. Also, the unbudgeted expenses appear to have risen," Rajiv Kumar was quoted as saying.
Meanwhile, the Chief Minister's Office said in a release that the state expected funds from the Centre adding, "The state expects that NITI Aayog would not dilute or reduce the grants that were due as â€˜we have inherited a legacyâ€™ and the previous government has explicitly drafted a vote-on-account budget of Rs 2.27 lakh crore."
"We did not change the quantum of the budget but have changed the priorities and our priority areas are education, medicare and inclusive growth. As the state revenues, central devolution and fiscal deficit cannot be increased or changed, it is only the Central grant that we can expect to be more liberal," the CMO statement quoted Jagan as saying.
The statement also quotes Rajiv Kumar as saying that he was impressed with the progress made by the state and was also appreciative of the 'Navaratnalu' scheme of the Chief Minister.
"Amma Vodi is a novel scheme where the mother would be given Rs 15,000 per annum for sending her children to school and this scheme can be sponsored by the HRD Ministry which can be emulated by the entire nation. The state is planning for a facelift of government schools in infrastructure and curriculum," the CMO statement said.
The state government also told the NITI Aayog team that assurances given in the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014 including Kadapa Steel Plant, Polavaram and other issues need to be expedited.
State Finance Minister Buggana Rajendernath, Industries and Commerce Minister M Goutham Reddy and Chief Secretary LV Subrahmanyam were among those present at the meeting.