HYDERABAD:With the Centre dashing his hopes on giving more funds to the cash-starved Andhra Pradesh in the Union budget, Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu is learnt to have asked officials of the finance department to reset government priorities in the State budget for the coming financial year in accordance with the State’s precarious financial situation.
Naidu held a meeting with Finance Minister Yanamala Ramakrishnudu and senior officials of the finance department here on Sunday.
During the meeting, Naidu reportedly asked the officials to reset government proprieties in the State budget, being prepared for 2015-16, as there were insufficient allocations to AP in the Union budget.
Already, Ramakrishnudu had on Saturday asked his department officials to prioritise projects and schemes as per the limited financial resources the State has got now. He had hinted at possible hike in taxes.
“As the Union budget has not addressed our concerns, we have to reset priorities in the State budget. Our budget should be prepared in a pragmatic way to reflect the ground realities in the State, post-bifurcation,” Naidu reportedly told officials during the meeting.
Sources said Naidu had asked officials to take a fresh look at state’s budgetary proposals so as to mobilise resources on its own.
Finance department officials reportedly gave a few suggestions to Naidu on how to increase the revenue in key departments such as excise and mines. They also told him about some sectors where allocation could be reduced.
In fact, the Chief Minister had already ordered stopping of all the long term projects which are at initial stages. Besides, he had even stopped the payments of many projects to cut expenditure.
As there is a revenue deficit of Rs 16,000 crore, the Chief Minister reportedly told the officials to prepare the budget in such a manner that the revenue gap will be reduced to a maximum possible level.
“As the Centre is expected to give the State Rs 6,609 core in the year 2015-16 as per the recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission, the Chief Minister asked us to take steps to fill the remaining Rs 10,000 crore gap,” said source.
As Governor ESL Narasimham will have to address both the Houses of AP Assembly on the first day of the commencement of the budget session of the Assembly on March 7, Naidu guided the officials on the issues that are to be highlighted in the Governor’s budget speech. Naidu told the officials to mention in the governor’s speech about the challenges being faced by AP post-bifurcation.
Final Review Meet Tomorrow
Chief Minister Naidu will hold a final review meeting with the officials of the finance department on Tuesday to give a final shape to the State budget.