We, at the Fearless Indian, managed to get our hands on the letter penned down by BJP Party President – Amit Shah to Andhra Pradesh CM and Veteran Leder – Chandrababu Naidu on the occasion of Ugadi.
The contents of the letter are an eye opener and reveal the alleged misappropriation and under-utilisation of funds granted by the Center to Andhra Pradesh. Read On….
Dear Shri Chandrababu Naidu Garu,
First and Foremost I would like to wish you and my five crore sisters and brothers of Andhra Pradesh a Happy Ugadi. May the New Year bring happiness and good health in everyone’s lives.
I am writing this letter after the Telgu Desam Party’s decision to quit the NDA family! This decision is both unfortunate as well as unilateral. It is a decision, I am afraid, will be construed as being guided wholly and solely by political considerations instead of development concerns.
BJP has been a firm believer in the concept of Politics of Performance and development for all has been our guiding principle. Andhra Pradesh figures very prominently on our agenda of National Development and it is widely known that the Union Government led by the Honorable Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has left no stone unturned in ensuring the growth and prosperity of Andhra Pradesh.
Since the discussion of bifurcating united Andhra Pradesh till the present, it is the BJP that has led the voice of safeguarding the welfare of Telgu people in both the Telgu States. This is in direct contrast to the Congress Party, which not only mismanaged the bifurcation but also showed zero sensitivity towards the Telgu people, which is in line with their historic apathy to the Telgu community.
You may recall that during the previous Lok Sabha and in the Rajya Sabha, when your party did not have adequate representation, it was the BJP that set the agenda and ensured that justice is done to the Telgu people in both the states.
Since getting the opportunity to serve at the Center, the BJP-led NDA Government, of which you were an integral constituent, has nurtured the new State of Andhra Pradesh with the spirit that this the state has suffered at the time of the state’s bifurcation. There is an element of sensitivity and a firm commitment for the cause of Andhra Pradesh’s development in the way the NDA Government at the Center has worked for Andhra Pradesh.
Special Category Status
On the issue of special status for Andhra Pradesh, it is regrettable that some political parties are whipping up public sentiments rather than encouraging an informed debate which is the cornerstone of a vibrant democracy. I would like you to introspect whether political parties should be pitting sentiments and development against each other to further their political agenda.
The 14th Finance Commission’s Terms of Reference (ToR) have been amended in the right earnest as per AP Reorganisation Act, 2014 as soon as our Government came to power on June 2, 2014 with President’s Order published under S O NO 1424(E) to take in to account the resources available to Andhra Pradesh and make recommendations thereof.
Due to weak financial position of Andhra Pradesh, the 14th Finance Commission has awarded the state revenue deficit grants to the tune of Rs. 22,113 Crore covering the overall revenue deficit for five years.
NIDM have already been established and are functioning in the State. As regards the remaining two institutions, namely a central university and a tribal university, a provision has already been made in the current year’s Union budget. Would the Central Government have established these institutions and made them functional in three years, much before the targeted year of 2022 if it was not sensitive to the needs of Andhra Pradesh?
OF the eight infrastructure projects, that the AP Reorganisation ACT proposes for implementation, subject to their feasibility, the Central Government has already initiated action on five feasible projects. These include:
A. As informed by your Government, a Techno-economic feasibility report of Greenfield expressway connecting new capital city of Amaravathi to Anantapuram will spur connectivity to Kurnool and Cuddapah is being prepared with an estimated civil cost of about Rs. 2400 Cr. Earlier, the State was to provide land free of all encumbrances. But later, in a meeting, the Chief Secretary of the State said that it can only provide 50% of land cost as per Bharatmata Pariyojna norms. A formal reference from State in this regard is still awaited
B. 180 KM long outer ring road to the New Capital town of Amravati with a budget of Rs. 19,700 crore
C. New Railway Line between Vijaywada and Guntur via Amravati at cost of Rs. 2680 crores
Andhra Pradesh is the only state to receive the award of revenue deficit grants for all the five years period from 2015 to 2020 besides the eight north-eastern and hilly states. Does that not show that the Central Government has been sensitive to the needs of Andhra Pradesh?
The NDA Government has more than doubled the extent of central assistance to Andhra Pradesh as compared to the total funds allocated in the previous five years. The total award of funds to Andhra Pradesh under tax devolution and grants under various heads during the 14th Finance Commission (2015 to 2020) which broadly corresponds to the tenure of present NDA Government) is Rs. 2,44,271 crore and the break-up of this allocation is as under Rs. 1,70, 686 Crore (share in Central Taxes), Grant in Aid Rs. 36,225 Crore. Revenue District Grant of Rs. 22,113 Crore Local Bodies Grant Rs. 12, 290 Crore and State Disaster Response Fund Rs. 2,957 Crore. The total award of funds and grants to Andhra Pradesh in the previous five years (2010 – 2015) was Rs. 1,17,967 Crore and the Congress led-UPA Government was in power for most of this period. Mr. Naidu does this massive increase in financial award to the tune of Rs. 1,26,304 Crore (and a rise of 107% in percentage terms) to Andhra Pradesh not show sensitivity of the Central Government towards the State’s requirements?
Even after such massive increase in allocations, the Central Government as offered a Special Assistance Measure (Financial Package) to Andhra Pradesh in September 2016 which was equivalent to the key financial benefits the state would have got as a special category state. Your Government hailed this as a central assistance as a great achievement of the State Government.
Suddenly two years later, you have made a U-turn once again demanding the Special Status which has become redundant in view of the financial commitments already fulfilled by the Central Government.
Under the Special Assistance Measure (Package), the amount of Externally Aided Projects (EAPs) signed so far is Rs. 8,991.38 Crore, while projects worth Rs. 17, 236 Crore are in the pipeline. Your accusation that there is a delay in the release of funds under the special package is an admission of your Government’s lackadiscal approach. Why is it that the State Government has not acted in a speedy manner?
Andhra Pradesh also gets reflected in increased budgetary allocation of Railways Budget Outlay in 2014-2019 which has been about Rs. 14,151 crore as against Rs. 5,1000 Crore in 2009-2014, an increase of about 219%. It is also worth mentioning that a total of 32 prokects costing Rs. 47, 989 Cr for 5,016 kms are already under execution.
New Capital City:
As regards the new capital city of Andhra Pradesh, the AP reorganisation Act, 2014 says that the Central Government shall provide special financial support for the creation of essential facilities including the Raj Bhavan, High Court, Government Secretariat, Legislative Assembly, Legislative Council and such other essential infrastructure. Towards this end, the Central Government has already made available Rs. 2,500 crore to the State Government. This includes Rs. 1000 Crore released by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Government of India for development of the Capital region. The State Government has spent only 8% of the Rs. 1000 Crore released by the MoHUA. When the State Government has not utilized the funds given so far, how can it expect the Central Government to release any further funds for the purpose?
As regards the Polavaram project, an Advisory Committee of Ministory of Water Resources approved the cost of the Project at 2010-2011 price level as Rs. 16,101. 45 crore including power and drinking water component of Rs. 26=868 crore. Further, on 8.9.2016, the Finance Minister announced that the Central Government would provide 100% of the remaining cost of the irrigation componenet of the project for the period starting from 1.4.2014 to the extent of the cost of the irrigation component on that date. So far, the Central Government has released from 5,364,00 crore and is committed to fund the balance amount of the project as per the announcement made by the Finance Minister on 08.9.2016.
Center’s Key Initiatives in AP
Going beyond statutory commitments made in the AP Reorganisation Act, 2014, and the special assistance package, Honorable Prime Minister and his Government have given special focus to Andhra Pradesh since 2014. More than Rs. 3 Lakh Crore worth of infrastructure and industrial projects have been initiated in the state of Andhra Pradesh. These include an investment of over Rs. 1.4 lakh Crore by HPCL, GAIL and ONHC in the petroleum sector to make Andhra Pradesh a major petrochemical club, investment of Rs 38,500 crores in the VIzag Steel Plant, UDAY discoms scheme with an overall net benefit of approximately Rs. 4,400 crore during the period of turnaround, ultra mega solar power projects and Solar parks at a cost of Rs, 24,000 crores etc.
The Central Government has allocated substantial resources for the implementation of pro-poor programmes such as Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Ujwala Yojana, Pradhanmantri Awas Yojana etc. II am pained to learn that the efforts of the Central Government on this account have been undermined by the TDP in its attempt to claim credit for this programs.
It may also be pointed out here that there are some serious lapses on the part of your Government which cannot be ignored. I learnt that the Central Government has not received appropriate fund utilization details particularly with regards to developmental funds under desired heads. It is worth noting that the Utilization Certificates have been received only for 8% for the 1000 crore release for the Capital region. Since, it is mandatory for the Central Government to have these details to release further instalments, it cannot be blamed for fund lapses. Governments are accountable the people for every single penny spent on their behalf. Therefore your statements that the State Government has no obligation to give any such statements of expenditure are evasive and reflect Government deficit.
The above facts clearly establish that the Central Government has sincerely and expeditiously implemented the provisions of the AP Reorganisation Act 2014. Going far beyond these assurances, we have demonstrated our earnest goodwill and commitment to the 5 Crore people of Andhra Pradesh by several additional initiatives enlisted in this letter.
The commitment of BJP for the cause of development and justice to Andhra Pradesh in particular is simply unquestionable. But unfortunately, the mandate earned together by both Parties is allowed to be squandered for political reasons. We were looking at TDP as our partner in the progress of the people of the Andhra Pradesh. Unfortunately, partisan politics has overtaken leading to your Party leaving the NDA.
Regardless of these facts, BJP reiterates its commitment to the people of Andhra Pradesh and will steadfastly continue to work for the development of the State.
In the letter Amit Shah further questions the CM’s intentions by asking:
If public welfare was a priority why did your Government take so long to access these funds? Why is it that your setting up a special purpose vehicle for directly receiving these funds from NABARD as desired by your Government? Is it because it poses problems in diverting such funds for ‘other’ purposes?
As you are aware the NDA Government agreed to bridge the revenue gap for the year 2014-2015, and a sum of Rs. 3979.50 crore was released to the State. The Central Government has also agreed to release an addition Rs. 1600 crore based on the revenue deficit estimates for the year 2015-2016 by the 14th Finance Commission.
Your Government’s claim of the Rs. 16,000 crore deficit in the year 2014-2015 is fallacious as this includes the State’s Expenditure on farm loan waivers, pensions etc. Even our Party Governments in different states have implemented similar loan waiver schemes to give relief to farmers, but have met such expenditure from their own sources. The Central Government cannot be expected to meet these expenses as we cannot differentiate between State Governments implementing similar welfare measures. Is it not political brinkmanship to make unjustified and exaggerated demands and then allege neglect when they are not accepted?
In keeping with BJP’s stated position at the time of reorganisation of Andhra Pradesh and articulated by the Party leaders during the debate, NDA Govt. Has tried to fulfil every promise made. A notification was duly issued by the Central Board of Direct Taxes on September 30 2016 covering the seven backward districts of Rayalseema and north coastal districts. Are you not being disingenuous in claiming in your letter that the State of Andhra Pradesh has not received industrial and tax incentives?
As regards the special developmental assistance to the seven backward districts, the Central Government has released development grants to the tune of Rs. 1050 crore in the first three years. Surprisingly, the state has spent only 12% of this amount and 88% remains unutilised.
This becomes evident from the massive resource allocations to the State of Andhra Pradesh over the past 4 years and the fact that already most of the promises made in the AP Reorganization act, 2014 are poised towards fulfilment.
The BJP has always pursued developmental politics with the objective of transforming people’s lives. The manner in which people have blessed us throughout the country, over the past four years, demonstrates the public support for our positive agenda. Your assertion that BJP is not sensitive to the aspirations to the people of Andhra Pradesh and has not implemented the provisions of the AP reorganisation ACT, 2014 and assurances given by the then Prime Minister in the Rajya Sahbha is untrue and baseless.
Cooperative federation is the guiding credo of this Government, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has worked with a ‘Team India’ spirit with all the Chief Ministers and devolved far more funds – 42 percent of the Central Revenues, (as against 32 percent earlier) amounting to additional of Rs. 2 lakh crore to the states. All this makes it very obvious that any claim of discrimination against Andhra Pradesh is far from the facts.
Andhra Pradesg gas received special assistance and attention as the young state needed nurturing and investments to give its economy a greater impetus. Facts mentioned explain how the Government has not only fulfilled its statutory obligations under the AP reorganisation Act, 2014 but has gone far beyond to ensure that the state becomes financially strong.
We would love to hear your views on the above letter. Do you feel it’s time that CM Chandrababu Naidu accepts his shortcomings and steps down? Comment now! #BeFearless
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