In the race for freebies to woo voters, political parties in Andhra Pradesh have turned a blind eye to the need to boost business and economic development.

The manifestoes released by the ruling YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) and the Opposition Front of TDP-JSP and BJP are competing with each other in welfare schemes and free disbursals to win the mandate.

Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, who preferred a `welfare state’ model with a slew of populist schemes under `Navaratnas’ during 2019-24, is betting big on continuation of the same approach and announced `Navaratnas Plus’ with significant increase (approximately over 25-30 per cent) in the expenditure on various schemes in the manifesto for upcoming elections to the State Assembly and Lok Sabha.

In the last five years, his government has disbursed a whopping ₹4.49-lakh crore under welfare schemes. The YSRCP manifesto is silent on any new infrastructure projects but promises to complete the on-going ports, Bhogapuram Airport and Polavaram project. However, Reddy claims to be ‘realistic’ on the capacity of the state government to fund schemes. 

In a way, YSRCP appears to be restrained and clear in its manifesto based on the logic that if Navaratnas could be implemented smoothly during the last five years, that could be replicated again. 

Freebies galore

As part of its attempt to overtake YSRCP on the welfare front, the TDP-JS-BJP Front is flying off the handle in its manifesto promises. In its ‘Super Six’ response to Navaratanas of YSRCP, it promised 20 lakh jobs to the youth over the next five years, an unemployment allowance of ₹3,000 per month, ₹15,000 per year to all the school-going students, ₹1,500 per month to all women in the age group of 19-59, three gas cylinders per household every year, and free travel to women in RTC buses.

TDP chief N. Chandrababu Naidu and Jana Sena chief Pawan Kalyan during the release of the manifesto of the NDA alliance in Andhra Pradesh on Tuesday

TDP chief N. Chandrababu Naidu and Jana Sena chief Pawan Kalyan during the release of the manifesto of the NDA alliance in Andhra Pradesh on Tuesday | Photo Credit: PTI

Naidu, who is seen as a ‘favourite’ of industry, is totally silent on the need to rev up industry and business in the State and only hints at ₹10 lakh investment subsidy for SMEs and start-ups. It can only be a miracle if 20 lakh jobs can be created in a state which appears to be out of the radar of the industry with poor infrastructure now. 


None of the manifestoes give any hint on resource mobilisation to implement them. It will be a huge task, especially for the TDP-JS-BJP front, to mobilise funds and execute all freebies if it manages to come to power.

The vote on the account budget for 2024-25 projected a revenue expenditure of ₹2,30,110 crore, while the capital expenditure is at ₹30,530 crore. The revenue deficit and fiscal deficit have been pegged at ₹24,758 crore and ₹55,817 crore, respectively. In the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP), the fiscal deficit is 3.51 per cent while the revenue deficit is working out to be 1.56 percent.

For the new government to be formed in June 2024, the biggest challenge will be resource mobilisation and leading the state on the path of industrial development.