The outcome of elections these days are influenced not just by equations of caste and religion but also by economic aspects.
Perhaps, one thing that can add to the ‘confidence’ of the ruling Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) is the state of the economy ahead of elections to the State Assembly slated for November 30.
Resentment from various sections of the Telangana region in the erstwhile Andhra Pradesh was one of the main planks of the Telangana agitation and it led to the argument that a separate statehood would augur well for the economy of the region.
So, where does the youngest State in the country stand now after the first decade of BRS rule for two consecutive terms?
The data speaks for itself. After the State’s formation, growth in Telangana has consistently outpaced growth in the country, and the gap has widened with each successive year.
While India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) increased by 118.2 per cent from 2014-15 to 2022-23, Telangana achieved a 155.7 per cent increase in the GDP value during the same period, making it the second ranking State in terms of the overall GSDP increase during this period.
Telangana’s average growth in this period was amongst the best in the country and it surpassed all its neighbouring States like Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
The State’s share in national GDP also increased from 4.1 per cent in 2014-15 to 4.8 per cent in 2022-23, despite its share in the national population remaining constant at 2.9 per cent throughout this period.
In terms of the per capita income (PCI), which is a broad measure of the standard of living of the population, Telangana’s performance has been noteworthy. In the year prior to State formation in 2014, on an average, a citizen of the State earned ₹1,12,162, while an Indian citizen earned ₹79,118.
In 2022-23, a Telangana citizen on an average earned an income of ₹3,08,732 -- ₹1,36,732 more than the income of an average Indian citizen (₹1,72,000).
The challenges, however, are the fiscal deficit and the outstanding public liabilities. Fiscal deficit is the excess of total expenditure over total receipts. This gap is filled by borrowings by the government and leads to an increase in total liabilities.
In 2023-24, the fiscal deficit is estimated to be 2.7 per cent of GSDP. For 2023-24, the central government has permitted a fiscal deficit of up to 3.5 per cent of GSDP.
As per the revised estimates, in 2022-23, the fiscal deficit of the State is expected to be 3.2 per cent of GSDP, which is lower than the budget estimate of 4.0 per cent of GSDP.
Outstanding liabilities is the accumulation of total borrowings at the end of a financial year. It also includes any liabilities on the public account. At the end of 2023-24, the outstanding liabilities are estimated to be 23.8 per cent of GSDP, slightly lower than the revised estimate for 2022-23.
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At the end of 2022-23, government guarantees are estimated to be ₹1,29,244 crore (11.3 per cent of GSDP as per revised estimates).
While the fundamentals of economic growth are good, there is a difference between growth and how far growth reaches every household in the State.
The question is will an average voter in the State be impressed with the growth story in the economy? The answer could be tricky.
However, the government can expect some recognition of the development in the eyes of a commoner in the form of lack of power cuts, improvement in urban infrastructure, the expansion of irrigation facilities (with projects such as Kaleshwaram) which pushed Telangana to become number one in the production of paddy.
It is also banking on the ‘positive’ impact of schemes like Mission Kakatiya and Rhythu Bandhu to lure the voters.
It remains to be seen if the growth in the macroeconomic parameters will help KCR and his team to return to power making it a hat trick.