Chandrababu Naidu Faces Uphill Task as Andhra Pradesh's New Chief Minister: What Lies Ahead?
Chandrababu Naidu Faces Uphill Task as Andhra Pradesh's New Chief Minister: What Lies Ahead?

Chandrababu Naidu is set to assume leadership in Andhra Pradesh, facing the daunting challenge of revitalizing the state's finances to fulfill the ambitious "Super Six" promises his party made during the recent Assembly elections. Naidu will be sworn in as Chief Minister on June 12.

One of the immediate hurdles Naidu faces is securing over Rs 4,500 crore required to distribute social pensions to approximately 65 lakh beneficiaries by July 1. As part of his agenda, Naidu has committed to raising the monthly pension from Rs 3,000 to Rs 4,000, including a backlog payment of Rs 3,000 starting in July (covering Rs 1,000 for April, May, and June).

The financial implications are significant, with the July commitment alone expected to cost the state exchequer Rs 4,500 crore. This is in addition to the substantial Rs 6,000 crore needed for employee salaries and pensions.

"A new TDP government will need to raise over Rs 10,000 crore to meet the financial requirements for July," said a retired senior bureaucrat.

According to reports, the state government has an annual committed expenditure of nearly Rs 1.30 lakh crore to cover salaries, pensions, loan repayments, and interests.

To raise funds, the Andhra government is set to sell securities worth Rs 2,000 crore on June 11 through auction, as per the Reserve Bank's website.

The state requires Rs 2,600 crore every month to cover social pensions alone.

In its manifesto, the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) promised free travel for women in government-run buses. An official from the Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation mentioned that the APSRTC earns about Rs 450 to Rs 500 crore monthly through ticket revenue, with women passengers expected to constitute 35-40% of the total.

Under the "Super Six," the TDP also promised Rs 15,000 annually to every school-going child. The party has removed the cap on the number of beneficiaries, which could significantly increase the amount.

Additionally, the TDP promised three free cooking gas cylinders per year to every household and Rs 20,000 annual financial assistance to every farmer, among other pledges.

As per the government budget document for 2023-24, the state has a public debt of Rs 4.83 lakh crore (33.3% of GSDP), along with Rs 1.39 lakh crore in government guarantees and Rs 26,296 crore in loans from the Centre.

The Revenue Receipts in the Budget (vote-on-account) for 2024-25 are estimated at Rs 2,05,352.19 crore, while the expenditure is pegged at Rs 2,30,110.41 crore.

During the Assembly polls, outgoing Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy alleged that it would cost an exorbitant Rs 1.21 lakh crore per annum to fulfill the TDP's poll promises.

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