It has been a long wait for the pensioners and some employees in Andhra Pradesh as the State government has not disbursed the monthly pensions this month until Monday, making it the longest delay in payment of pensions. 

According to reliable sources, even some categories of government employees did not receive their salaries, while some of those in key departments have been paid. 

When contacted, on the condition of anonymity, a senior official said that unlike earlier, a treasury office- or division-based disbursal model was being followed for the disbursal of salaries and pensions on the basis of a specific priority.

As per government employee unions’ data, there are about 10 lakh government employees in the State. The total number of employees and pensioners receiving monetary support is 14.66 lakh. 

‘No Money’

“The government has no money to pay pensions, which are crucial for senior citizens. Out of a total salary bill of ₹5,500 crore, ₹1,850 crore goes in the form of pensions,’‘ TMV Butchi Raju, General Secretary, Association of AP Pensioners Settled in Hyderabad, told businessline. “We have been told that about 40 percent of pensioners received pensions today,” he added.

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The State’s finances have been a concern of late, with the government giving priority to its flagship social welfare schemes being implemented under the “Navaratnas” as promised in its manifesto in the 2019 Assembly elections. 

Lion’s share

There has been a steady increase in the expenditure of the State government in recent years, as seen in the budget outlays. In the budget of 2023–24, which has been pegged at ₹2,79,279 crore, a lion’s share of allocations went to welfare schemes. The Andhra Pradesh government’s Budget outlay for 2022–23 and 2021–22 was ₹2.56 lakh crore and ₹2.29 lakh crore, respectively. The fiscal deficit and revenue deficit are at 3.77 per cent and 1.54 per cent of GSDP, respectively.

“I am not concerned with government finances but have been put to trouble due to this delay in payment of my pension as I have regular medical expenses in the first week of every month. I request that at least pensions be paid on time,’‘ MR Rao, a retired headmaster from Vijayawada now living in Hyderabad, said.

The outstanding debt (the accumulation of total borrowings at the end of a financial year, including any liabilities on public account) is estimated to be at 33.3 per cent at the end of the current financial year, higher than the revised estimate for 2022–23, which was 32.4 per cent of GSDP.