NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman Rajiv Kumar expressed concerns over Andhra Pradesh's 'huge' revenue deficit and increasing unbudgeted expenditure on Friday. The YSRC government pitched for 'liberal' assistance from the national planning body as well as the 15th Finance Commission, citing losses due to the state's bifurcation. The Vice-Chairman held a high-level meeting with Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy, ministers and state government officials and discussed a host of issues in the meeting.
According to a press release from the Chief Minister's Office, the NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman expressed concern over the states mounting revenue deficit as well as unbudgeted expenditure. He also said that the revenue deficit appears to be worrisome and the unbudgeted expenses appear to have risen. In the 2019-20 budget, the Jagan Mohan Reddy government has estimated that the revenue deficit would be of Rs 1,778.52 crore and the fiscal deficit Rs 35,260.58 crore.
The Andhra Pradesh Finance Minister Buggana Rajendranath had earlier said the states revenue deficit in 2018-19 was Rs 11,654.91 crore, down from Rs 16,151.68 crore in the previous year. The NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman asked the state to focus on (attracting) investments and public borrowings apart from food processing sector and export of agro products on Friday. The Aayog was ready to work with the state government in this regard, Kumar added.The Vice-Chairman also noted that anaemia cases in women have risen very high in AP and he asserted the state to focus on women and child development. ‘’We are working with the Union Food Ministry to improve the nutritional value of rice and edible oil. The state government should also ensure that rice and edible oil contain essential minerals and vitamins,’’ he said. He also asked Andhra Pradesh Government to focus on the construction of houses in urban and rural areas. A Chief Minister office press release said that the Vice-Chairman appreciated the chief minister's vision and plans and promised to do what all we can and co-operate in an appropriate manner. The Aayog would help the state improve human development indices. The chief minister requested the NITI Aayog to ensure that the Central grants to the state were not cut down.
‘’Our state has been suffering from certain problems that have come as an inheritance. Nevertheless, we have introduced a slew of programmes to improve healthcare, educational infrastructure, nutritious food to children. We are implementing multi-pronged plans to overcome illiteracy in the state’’ Chief Minister Jagan Mohan said.
Chief Secretary LV Subrahmanyam also noted that the state suffered a severe loss due to bifurcation. NITI Aayog's co-operation is essential to fill this void. The Aayog and the 15th Finance Commission should extend liberal financial assistance to AP. We will also become partners in making India a five trillion dollar economy if you lend us a helping hand, the Chief Secretary said. The NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman also visited some farms in the Gannavaram Mandal to inspect the Zero-Budget Natural Farming practices.