In a New Year gift to State Government employees, the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy, on Thursday announced interim relief of 27 per cent with effect from January 1, 2014.
This decision will benefit about 9.2 lakh Government staff and 5.5 lakh pensioners. The move will have additional financial burden of Rs 7,681 crore for full year and Rs 1,920 crore for three months during the period up to March 31, 2014.
Addressing a press conference, the Chief Minister said the decision to provide interim relief was taken by the Government in spite of lower revenue collections during first nine months compared to what was initially projected.
In all about 14 lakh employees of Government staff and nearly 70 lakh people, covering members of these Government staff will also benefit from this new initiative to provide them health cards. He said a steering committee will be constituted to monitor the progress of issue of these cards to staffers and their family members.
The State Government had inducted 1.5 lakh new staffers in the last two years.
He said the State had to contend with lower growth of 9.5 per cent over the initially projection and yet the Government has decided to offer these cards. Last financial year was witness to 15-16 per cent growth in revenue collection and a year before that the State registered a growth of 25 per cent.
Referring to the increasing size of the State budget, the Chief Minister said that the Planning Commission had cleared a proposal of budget plan of Rs 3,50,000 for the five year period during the XII Plan, making it the biggest budget for any State in the country. He expects the State would be in the stipulations set out under the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act.
When asked to comment about the recent move to change the portfolio of Legislative Affairs Minister, D Sridhar Babu, the Chief Minister refused to get into any discussion on political issues as the Assembly session is beginning on Friday.