With just one month left for the simultaneous assembly and Lok Sabha polls scheduled to be held on April 11, here is a brief review of how Andhra Pradesh fared in crucial sectors under Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu-led Telugu Desam Party.
On March 8, the TDP government presented its vote on account budget with increase in allocations over the previous year to various departments – education, municipal administration and urban development, health, medical and family welfare. But, the TDP’s track record in the last five years indicates recurrent mismatch between budget estimates and revised estimates of budget figures.
Consider this: the state registered a declined growth in its Gross State Domestic Product in the recent years. While the growth in GSDP increased from 8.43 per cent in 2012-13 to 13.4 per cent in 2014-15, the figure increased to 15.85 per cent in 2015-16, but declined by nearly one per cent to 14.65 percent in 2016-17. The figure has further dipped to 11.2 percent in 2017-18, as per the data from the state's Directorate of Economics and Statistics Department.
The total expenditure in 2018-19 for the state is targeted at Rs 1,91,064 crore. This is 19.5 per cent higher than the revised estimates of 2017-18. While the state registered a record increase in its interest payments and outstanding liabilities, the crucial sectors such as education, agriculture and health are evidently undermined, data reveals.
As per the 2018-19 budget estimations, the total interest payments are estimated at Rs 148 billion, a 1.5 billion rise, compared to 2017-18. On the other side, the total outstanding liabilities of the state have increased by more than two times in the last five years. While the total outstanding liabilities were Rs 1226.1 billion in 2015, the figure rose to Rs 2520 billion, as per 2018-19 budget estimates.
Here is a brief review of spending in crucial sectors under TDP regime (data collated from RBI).
In its 2018-19 budget, the Andhra Pradesh government had allocated 14.8 per cent of its total budget in 2018-19. However, this is lower than the average expenditure allocated to education by 18 other states (16.1 per cent).
While in 2014-15, the spending on education was recorded as 12.6 per cent of total expenditure, the number got increased to 14.6 per cent in 2015-16, but dipped again to 12.6 per cent in 2016-17. Then the spending was slightly increased to 13 per cent in 2017-18, it is estimated at 14 per cent during 2018-19.
The state government estimated the spending on medical, public health and family welfare, as a ratio of total expenditure at 4.6 per cent for 2018-19. This is slightly lower than the spending during 2016-17 (4.7 per cent) and slightly higher than that spent in 2017-18 (4.3 per cent).
The 2017-18 budget estimate for expenditure on social sector against total expenditure is slated as 48.2 per cent, nearly three percent lesser than that spent during 2017-18 (51.1 per cent). This includes expenditure on social services, rural development and food storage and warehousing under revenue expenditure.
The state has allocated 4.7 per cent of its total budget towards agriculture and allied activities. This is lower than the allocations of 18 other states (6.4 per cent). Further, this is also a sharp drop in spending on agriculture from 6.1 per cent in 2016-17 within the state.
The state witnessed numerous people’s struggles against forceful land acquisition for state and corporate projects, agrarian crisis, unemployment and so on. While the opposition parties have been criticising the TDP for sidelining the interests of marginalised sections and its failure to meet its electoral promises during 2014 elections, the TDP has come up with several sops for backward caste communities, farmers and self help groups, all in the last two months.
But will the sudden sops override the glaring facts about TDP’s governance?
Also read: Lok Sabha Polls 2019: In Andhra’s Electoral Battle, No Place for BJP and Congress