New Delhi, Jan 3: With state finances under stress amid COVID-19 pandemic, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy on Monday met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and requested him to restore the state’s net borrowing ceiling to the earlier level of Rs 42,472 crore.
In the hour-long meeting held at Modi’s residence here, Reddy also requested early release of the pending revenue deficit of Rs 18,830.87 crore for the 2014-15 fiscal as well as revisit of coverage of the poor under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) besides renewal of the approvals of site clearance for greenfield international airport at Bhogapuram.
Among other key issues, the chief minister demanded early approval of the revised estimated cost of Rs 55,657 crore for the mega Polavaram Irrigation project on the Godavari river, an official statement said. Discussing the southern state’s financial situation, Reddy shared with the prime minister that the Centre had originally fixed the net borrowing ceiling (NBC) at Rs 42,472 crore for the current 2021-22 fiscal as per FRBM (Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management) norms.
However, the Union finance ministry subsequently informed that an amount of Rs 17,923.24 crore is to be adjusted against the NBC fixed for this year on account of the “so-called over-borrowing of the state during earlier years of the previous government,” he said.
He emphasised that the so-called over-drawal was only a borrowing and not a grant and the borrowing is also being serviced without any default, and requested Modi to restore the state’s NBC to its original level of Rs 42,472 crore. The demand comes at a time when Andhra Pradesh has a debt burden of Rs 3,73,140 crore as on November 2020 as per the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report. During the meeting, Reddy also informed Modi the reasons for escalation of the cost of the Polavaram project and requested him for early approval of the revised cost estimates of Rs 55,657 crore at 2017-18 price level.
The revised cost estimate of the project includes a drinking water component of Rs 4,000 crore as well as release of the pending payment of Rs 2,100 crore already incurred by the state government towards Polavaram project, the statement said. Emphasising the need to revisit the data of poor people covered under NFSA in Andhra Pradesh, Reddy said, “There is inadequate coverage of beneficiaries under NFSA Act and large numbers of needy and deserving persons being uncovered.”
The chief minister requested the prime minister to direct the concerned officials to revisit the state’s data and the same be corrected. Under NFSA, the Centre supplies foodgrains at highly subsidised rates of Rs 1-3 per kg to the poor beneficiaries through the public distribution system (PDS). Discussing pending dues of power suppliers, Reddy sought the Centre’s intervention in resolving these issues between Andhra Pradesh Generation Corporation Limited (APGENCO) and the Telangana State Distribution Utilities and Telangana DISCOMs.
APGENCO is yet to receive pending dues of Rs 6,284 crore from the Telangana State Distribution Utilities and Telangana DISCOMs, he added. Reddy also urged the PM to direct officials concerned to expedite a feasibility report of a proposed integrated steel plant in YSR Kadapa district. Later, the Andhra Pradesh chief minister, who is on a two-day visit to the national capital, called on Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitaraman and discussed the issues related to the state. PTI LUX SRY