YS Jaganmohan Reddy and his YSRCP government is going all out to bury the state in massive amounts of debt. The Union Government on Tuesday informed the Upper House that since assuming chair in April 2019, Reddy’s government had availed a sum of Rs 56,076 crore as loans from various public sector banks. Kanakamedala Ravindra Kumar of the opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) had posed the question and Bhagwat Karad, the Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance replied with the jaw-dropping numbers. The state already has a debt burden of Rs 3,73,140 crore as of November 2020.
According to an Economic Times report, the state government borrowed Rs 9226.375 crore on an average per month during the 2020-21 financial year. Andhra Pradesh’s debt burden was Rs 97,000 crore at the time of bifurcation in June 2014. In five years (till March 2019), it peaked to Rs 2,58,928 crore.
Not only this, the Jagan led Andhra Pradesh government in May whilst presenting its annual budget for the financial year 2021-22 in the midst of a raging second wave of the pandemic didn’t let its appeasement politics die down.
It allotted a whopping Rs 48,000 crore towards implementing 22 freebie schemes. Three of these schemes will cost Rs 16,899 crore and will be implemented through the State Development Corporation. After the freebie politics, the public debt is expected to mount to Rs 3,87,125 crore, rising from Rs 3,55,874 crore the previous year as the government targets to borrow Rs 50,525 crore afresh.
It is also interesting to note the partial and discriminatory allocation of budget to different sections of the society by the Reddy government. The Brahmins have been allotted Rs 359 crore while the minorities have received Rs 3,840 crore.
While the Jagan led government splurges blindly, the central government has to take care of its finances. The Department of Expenditure, Ministry of Finance this week (August 9) released the 5th monthly instalment of Post Devolution Revenue Deficit (PDRD) grant of Rs. 9,871 crore to states across the country as recommended by the Finance Commission.
Andhra Pradesh received Rs 1438.08 crores in the instalment, taking its total amount to Rs 7190.42 crore in the year 2021-22. The state is just behind Kerala and West Bengal in terms of funds. It is pertinent to note that the Post Devolution Revenue Deficit Grant is provided to the States under Article 275 of the Constitution. It is released in monthly tranches to meet the gap in Revenue Accounts of the States post-devolution.
Such has been the extent of minority appeasement in Jagan Mohan’s Andhra Pradesh that the benefits meant for the members of SC/ST communities have been usurped by the converted Christians with pastors gulping down the lion’s share.
As reported by TFI, Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment A. Narayanaswamy had to release a statement and give an earful to the Andhra government:
“No person who professes a religion different from the Hindu, the Sikh or the Buddhist religion shall be deemed to be a member of a Scheduled Caste. The benefits of Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS) meant for the welfare and development of Scheduled Castes can not be extended to Converted Christians from Scheduled Castes.”
According to several reports, majority of Christian converts (~80 per cent) are from the SC community and have continued availing benefits meant for SCs. Allotment of land/house, free electricity, and loans are usurped by the Christian converts vide the 1977 order that extends SC reservation benefits to Christian converts in violation of the constitutional provisions of 1950.
As per the data obtained through RTI, it was revealed that 58.14 per cent of Christian Pastors have Hindu SC community certificates and 13.37 per cent of Christian pastors have Hindu OBC community certificates.
Reddy’s explicit pro-minority stance, in any case, has always been a harsh reality for the state’s Hindus. In December 2019, the Andhra Pradesh government made an attempt for a hostile takeover of the Ahobilam Temples, quite obviously, for the lucrative benefits. Now, the state government is mulling to convert the temple compounds into a tourist location, most certainly at the expense of the temple and its historical significance.
The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams’ (TTD) contribution to the Andhra Pradesh state government had spiked from Rs 2.5 crore to Rs 50 crore in the month of January last year, suggesting that the government was quietly looting the temples.
Reported by TFI last year, Y V Subba Reddy, the Chairman of the TTD Board Trust, also the maternal uncle of CM Jagan Mohan Reddy had decided to sell off close to 50 immovable assets of the Tirupati temple board across various states.
The decision naturally brought the ire of the devotees who did not donate their hard-earned money, only to see a Christian appeasing Chief Minister sell away the temple lands. However, strong backlash from Pawan Kalyan and the Hindu devotees, at the time led the Jagan government to take a step back on the decision.
Perhaps it is through his minority appeasement politics that Jaganmohan Reddy has managed to fill his personal coffers as well. As also reported by TFI, the YSR Congress leader is the prime accused in over ten charge sheets filed by CBI and ED of disproportionate assets cases worth over Rs 43,000 crore. It is alleged that Jagan Reddy’s income rose from a measly Rs 11 lakhs in 2004 to Rs 43,000 crore by the time his father died.
Thus, one can understand why the state of Andhra Pradesh is in such dire straits. The debt is mounting and the Chief Minister is sleeping at the wheel. However, when awake, he is busy, simply mollycoddling his precious vote bank.