NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman Rajiv Kumar on Friday expressed concern over Andhra Pradesh's 'huge' revenue deficit and increasing unbudgeted expenditure even as the YSRC government pitched for 'liberal' assistance from the national planning body as well as the 15th Finance Commission, citing losses due to the state's bifurcation. Kumar held a high-level meeting here with Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy, ministers and state government officials and discussed a host of issues.
A press release from the Chief Ministers Office said the NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman expressed concern over the states mounting revenue deficit as well as unbudgeted expenditure. The revenue deficit appears to be worrisome. Also, the unbudgeted expenses appear to have risen, Rajiv Kumar was quoted as saying.
In the 2019-20 budget, the Jagan Mohan Reddy government has estimated that the revenue deficit would be Rs 1,778.52 crore and the fiscal deficit Rs 35,260.58 crore. Finance Minister Buggana Rajendranath had earlier said the states revenue deficit in 2018-19 was Rs 11,654.91 crore, down from Rs 16,151.68 crore in the previous year.
On Friday, the NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman asked the state to focus on (attracting) investments and public borrowings apart from food processing sector and export of agro products. The Aayog was ready to work with the state government in this regard, he added.
Kumar also noted that cases of anemia in women were very high in AP and asked the state to focus on women and child development. We are working with the Union Food Ministry to improve the nutritional value of rice and edible oil. The state government should also ensure that rice and edible oil contain essential minerals and vitamins, he said.
He also asked the state to focus on the construction of houses (for the poor) in urban and rural areas. The CMO release said the Vice-Chairman appreciated the Chief Ministers vision and plans and promised to do what all we can and co-operate in an appropriate manner.
Our state has been suffering from certain problems that have come as an inheritance. Nevertheless, we have introduced a slew of programs to improve healthcare, educational infrastructure, nutritious food to children. We are implementing multi-pronged plans to overcome illiteracy in the state, Jagan said. Chief Secretary L V Subrahmanyam noted that the state suffered a severe loss due to bifurcation.
NITI Aayogs co-operation is essential to fill this void. The Aayog and the 15th Finance Commission should extend liberal financial assistance to AP. We will also become partners in making India a five trillion dollar economy if you lend us a helping hand, the Chief Secretary said. Finance Minister Rajendranath, Agriculture Minister K Kanna Babu and top bureaucrats attended the meeting.
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