Facing criticism from non-BJP states over withholding of funds, the Central Government Tuesday sanctioned the biggest-ever release of funds to Andhra Pradesh since its bifurcation in June 2014. According to the Andhra Pradesh Government, the Centre has disbursed Rs 10,460 crore as compensation towards the revenue deficit suffered by the state due to the creation of Telangana. “This fund will accelerate Andhra Pradesh’s development further,” stated a release from Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy’s office.
The release of the staggering amount of Rs 10,460 crore to Andhra Pradesh comes even as the newly-formed Congress government in Karnataka and Congress leaders are hinting that the Centre may stop funds to the state where the BJP was thrown out of power less than a fortnight ago. The Bharat Rashtra Samiti (BRS) government in Telangana, where elections are due this year, has also consistently complained that the Modi Government is targeting non-BJP governed states by not releasing funds on time.
“When the state was bifurcated to create Telangana, the total revenue deficit for the 2014-15 fiscal was Rs 22,948.76 crore. The amount released to Andhra Pradesh till last year was only Rs 4,117.89 crore, so this is a huge amount at one go as funds are usually released in small tranches,” explained an official. “This amount that has been released was part of the dues that were pending under the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014. The release of funds comes after a series of meetings between Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy and Prime Minister Narendra Modi this year where the CM had repeatedly pitched for the release of funds which were promised to the state at the time of bifurcation and also insisted that this financial aid would accelerate overall development and welfare for each citizen of the state,” the official added.
The Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) stated that Mahendra Chandelia, Assistant Director at the Ministry of Finance, directed the immediate release of Rs 10,460.87 crore under the ‘Special General Financial Assistance’ category, as part of revenue deficit in the financial year 2014-15.
Advisor to the CM, Sajjala Ramakrishna Reddy, commented on the release, saying, “This is first time that such a huge amount has been released in one go. It is the biggest ever grant since bifurcation. These funds will be used to finance a variety of development projects, including infrastructure development on one hand and welfare including education, housing, healthcare schemes on the other.”
Sajjala further highlighted the significance of this funding, stating that compensation for revenue deficit is the state’s right and Centre’s responsibility as per the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014. He also addressed the criticism faced by the CM, saying, “Many people including Telugu Desam Party leaders questioned the CM’s trips frequent trips to Delhi to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi to request the release of the funds that are due to Andhra Pradesh under the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014. As the Centre has released the funds today, it is a slap on TDP and others who constantly criticised the CM for visiting Delhi to meet the PM and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.”
Sajjala further criticized the previous TDP regime of N Chandrababu Naidu for failing to convince the Centre to release the funds owed to the state.