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Chandrababu Naidu as CM faces huge task of delivering 'Super Six' guarantees with empty coffers

1 week ago 21

Andhra Pradesh: TDP supremo N Chandrababu Naidu, poised to assume the leadership of Andhra Pradesh shortly, faces the formidable challenge of revitalizing depleted state finances to deliver on the "Super Six" promises his party made during the recent Assembly elections. Naidu is set to be sworn in as Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh on June 12.

A significant immediate hurdle involves securing over Rs 4,500 crore needed to distribute social pensions to approximately 65 lakh beneficiaries by July 1. As part of his "Super Six" agenda, Naidu has pledged to increase the monthly pension from Rs 3,000 to Rs 4,000, which includes a backlog payment of Rs 3,000 (covering Rs 1,000 for April, May, and June) starting in July.

The financial implications are considerable. In July alone, this commitment will cost the state exchequer Rs 4,500 crore. This is in addition to the substantial Rs 6,000 crore required for employee salaries and pensions.

"The new TDP government will have to mop up over Rs 10,000 crore to fulfill the financial requirements for July," a retired senior bureaucrat said.

According to him, the state government has a committed expenditure of nearly Rs 1.30 lakh crore annually to meet the requirements of salaries, pensions, loan repayments and interests.

According to the Reserve Bank website, the Andhra government offered to sell securities worth Rs 2,000 crore on June 11 through auction.

The state needs Rs 2,600 crore every month to meet the social pension alone.

Similarly, as part of the manifesto, the Telugu Desam Party promised free travel to women in government-run buses.

An official of Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation said the APSRTC earns about Rs 450 to Rs 500 crore through ticket revenue monthly and women passengers are expected to be in the range of 35-40 per cent.

He, however, said there was no study on women travellers done so far in the state.

According to him, the Telangana RTC which implements a similar scheme estimated that women constitute nearly 50 per cent of the total commuters.

Towards the free travel scheme, the new government will have to reimburse nearly Rs 2,000 crore annually to the APSRTC.

Under "Super Six," the TDP also promised Rs 15,000 to every school-going child per annum.

The outgoing YRS Congress Party government had earmarked Rs 6,500 crore towards a similar scheme called "Amma Vodi."

With Naidu removing the cap on the number of beneficiaries, the amount may go up substantially.

The party also promised three free cooking gas cylinders to every household per year and Rs 20,000 annual financial assistance to every farmer, among others.

According to the government budget document 2023-24, the state has Rs 4.83 lakh crore public debt (33.3 per cent of GSDP), besides Rs 1.39 lakh crore government guarantees and Rs 26,296 crore of loans from the Centre.

The total Revenue Receipts in the Budget (vote-on-account) for 2024-25 are estimated at Rs 2,05,352.19 crore while the expenditure was pegged at Rs 2,30,110.41 crore.

While launching the YSRCP manifesto during the run-up to the recently concluded Assembly polls, the outgoing Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy alleged it will cost an exorbitant Rs 1.21 lakh crore per annum to fulfil the TDP's poll promises.

Inputs from PTI

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