AP ECONOMY IN VERY BAD SHAPE
The state's economy gave "a sense of gloom and doom" due to the "twin burdens" of a decade of Congress misgovernance and bifurcation of the state besides a Rs 18,236 crore "resource gap" during the current year, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu said here today. However, releasing a "white paper" on the state's finances here today evening, the AP Chief Minister did not mention how implementing the promised loan waiver to farmers, womens' self-help groups and weavers, would bleed the state's exchequer further by nearly Rs 1 lakh crore. "Since 2008-09, the state had been characterised by misgovernance, corruption scandals, and lack of development and strategic direction. The subsequent political upheaval due to the state's bifurcation, also seriously affected the economy, stalled growth momentum, undermined AP's reputation and standing as a model of good governance and development," Chandrababu said. The overall slowdown in the national economy, contraction of job opportunities and consistently high levels of inflation compounded the crisis and created a sense of gloom and doom, he said. "The sense of alienation and despondency was further compounded by the manner in which the state was reorganised by the UPA government at the Centre. The state was divided without an iota of concern for, or attention to, the disastrous economic and financial consequences for the residual state of Andhra Pradesh," he said. "The resource gap for the current year was estimated at Rs 18,236 crore, which translated to a revenue deficit of 4.84 per cent and fiscal deficit of 7.18 per cent. Resource gap for the ten-month period of the current fiscal is around Rs 15,691 crore, compared to a Rs 3,555 crore surplus for Telangana. The current context has positioned Andhra Pradesh in a fiscally precarious position," Chandrababu said.
As against the requirement of over Rs 32,000 crore under the plan, only Rs 5,791 crore is available to Andhra Pradesh. "Approximately Rs 26,000 crore is required additionally over and above the borrowing limit approved by the Government of India for the current year. This would require relaxation of borrowing limits imposed by the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act," he said. "So far, market borrowings are strictly used for capital expenditure. A stage has come now, wherein we will have to borrow significant amount for revenue expenditure without any asset creation. A continuation of this trend may lead to fiscal imbalances, which may cause irreparable damage to the economy and adversely affect growth and development of the state," he said. The Chief Minister, however, said his government was committed to rectify fiscal imbalances which emerged during the past few years. "The task ahead is very arduous. The government may be left with difficult and painful options. We seek co-operation and support of the people to move towards the course of fiscal correction," he said. Chandrababu said the government is "not contemplating" any fresh taxes since the previous Congress government had already resorted to irrational tax hikes. "It is significant to note that the per capita taxation in the state shot up more than three-fold from Rs 2,266.90 in 2000-01 to Rs 7,136.76 by 2010-11. The per capita debt also saw a three-fold increase from Rs 7,712 in 2003-04 to Rs 20,573 in 2013-14," Chandrababu said. The Chief Minister said the government is exploring various options to mobilise financial resources and boost the economy. "I will spell out my approach soon after the series of white papers (on various subjects) are released," he said. AP Finance Minister Yanamala Ramakrishnudu, Principal Finance Secretary Ajeya Kallam, Principal Secretary P V Ramesh and others were present on the occassion.