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We borrowed to aid people in crisis: Buggana Rajendranath

Guntur : Brushing aside the allegations of opposition TDP and reports in a section of the media on State debts, Finance Minister Buggana Rajendranath on Tuesday pointed out that the previous TDP regime borrowed more and even crossed the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) limits.

The Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR), which was at 20% during the TDP government, has been brought down to 16% in the past three years. The YSRC government was forced to make debts following the revenue shortfall because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In fact, the conditions were normal during the TDP regime, but the then government had acted irresponsibly and burdened the people of the State with debts, whereas the present YSRC regime made borrowings to aid the people in need of the hour. There has been a growth in debts of the Centre as well as other States, he explained.

Speaking to mediapersons at AP Bhavan in New Delhi, Buggana felt that the false propaganda on the State debts was launched with a malafide intention to create panic among the people. A question with regard to the States’ debts asked in Parliament was portrayed as a question confined to the debts of AP only, he alleged.

After the State bifurcation, AP debts stood at Rs 1.35 lakh crore in 2014 and reached Rs 3.27 lakh crore by May, 2019. The State debts increased by 140% during previous regime, recording 20% CAGR. The State debts increased to Rs 4.98 lakh crore in the next three years and the CAGR declined to 16%, he elaborated.

Armed with figures, Buggana while drawing comparison with other States in fiscal deficit, revenue deficit, debts and GSDP, said the total debts made by Andhra Pradesh were low compared to many other States. The GSDP growth, which was 11% in 2018-19, stood at 18% this year. AP has emerged as one of the top performing States in India, he averred.

He further said the fiscal deficit of AP stood at 3%, which is lower than other States like Telangana (4.13%), Tamil Nadu (3.5%) and Kerala (4.74%). Even when no crisis like the Covid pandemic during the previous TDP regime, the fiscal deficit stood at 4%, he said.

Buggana pooh poohed the claim of TDP that the YSRC government was paying more interest on debts, saying that the interest rate was brought down to 7.2% in the YSRC regime. The interest rate stood at 8.49% in 2014-15, 8.28% in 2015-16, 7.45% in 2016-17, 7.46% in 2017-18 and 8.46% in 2018-19. The State made debts of Rs 38,283 crore in 2018-19 when the GSDP was Rs 9.18 lakh crore, whereas the debt in 2021-22 stood at Rs 40,000 crore when the GSDP was Rs 12 lakh crore.

Informing that the loans taken by the AP State Development Corporation (APSDC) being utilised for four schemes, including Rythu Bharosa, Amma Vodi, Cheyutha and Aasara, Buggana appealed to the Centre to give relaxation to the State as APSDC borrowings were made on additional tax levied on liquor.