As Andhra Pradesh Finance Minister B Rajendranath Reddy prepares to present his first Budget on Friday, the ruling YSR Congress Party and the Opposition Telugu Desam Party are engaged in a war of words on the State’s economy.

The Finance Minister set the ball rolling on Wednesday evening by releasing a white paper on the State’s economy, painting a bleak picture of the TDP’s five-year rule from 2014 to 2019, accusing it of borrowing indiscriminately and spending money on unproductive, wasteful enterprises.

Corruption alleged

He also alleged that there was large-scale corruption. “Where one rupee was enough, they spent three. We will review all those tenders and expose the TDP,” he said.

With its profligacy, he alleged, the State has been pushed into a debt trap by the previous government and ₹20,000 crore a year is needed for debt servicing alone. “We are carrying a debt burden of ₹3.62 lakh crore and that is the legacy the TDP has left us,” he said.

He also said the previous government had fudged figures and the double-digit growth rate shown by the TDP did not reveal the true state of the economy.

Poll promises

Nevertheless, he said, the YSR Congress governnment would focus on implementing the nava ratnalu (nine gems, the nine major promises made by the YSR Congress in its manifesto) in spite of the handicaps. “We will try for Central funds and enhance resource mobilisation, and curb wasteful expenditure. We will fulfil the promises made to the people,” he said.

TDP denial

Rebutting the allegations, senior TDP leader and former Finance Minister Y Ramakrishnudu said the white paper released by the YSR Congress government was not based on facts and its sole objective was to establish that the TDP government had mismanaged the economy and indulged in large-scale corruption, which was not true.

“When we came to power in 2014, we inherited an economy in bad shape, in the aftermath of bifurcation, and we set the economy on course in five years, achieving double-digit growth rate in all the five years, even though there was very little help from the Centre. Unable to manage the economy, the YSR Congress government is shifting the blame on us. We will also release a paper to expose the falsehood being spread by the YSR Congress,” he said.

He said it was not a crime to borrow, or to obtain overdraft, and “the money was not spent on unproductive ventures, as the Finance Minister is falsely alleging. It was spent on projects critical to the State’s future, such as the Polavaram irrigation project and the new capital, Amaravati. It is not proper to level such wild allegations.”



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