VIJAYAWADA: Andhra Pradesh registered an enviable growth rate of 10.5 percent at the end of the third quarter in the present financial year and it is expected that it would continue the momentum to end the year with a double digit growth rate.
Expressing satisfaction over the performance in the first three quarters, which is better than the all India average growth of 7.3 percent, Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu said it was imperative that the state continued to have a double digit growth rate in the coming years to bail itself out of the financial crisis it found itself after state bifurcation.
Addressing the inaugural session of the two-day Collectors’ Conference here on Monday, which was 6th in the series of such conferences being held since the reorganisation of the state, Naidu said state was able to achieve the double digit growth rate it had aspired for in the current fiscal, but it is paramount to continue in the coming years.
Target for the next fiscal (2016-17) has been fixed at 15 percent, which is achievable with coordinated and planned efforts, he said while stressing the development programmes with welfare oriented approach.
The Chief Minister said the state budget for 2016-17 will give equal emphasis on welfare and development, as Andhra Pradesh is a welfare state and welfare programmes meant for the poor cannot be ignored even if the state is facing financial problems.Pointing out at the ‘injustice’ meted out during the state bifurcation, where fiscal deficit was not shared proportionate to population, Naidu said state government’s efforts in the last two fiscal is helping to steady the ship but there is long way to go.
“Central Government on its part has provided only Rs. 2,300 crore while the state’s fiscal deficit was Rs. 16,070 crore. Though special packages for Rayalaseema and North Andhra districts were promised like those given to Kalahandi and Bolangir in Odisha, only Rs. 10 crore each for seven districts have been sanctioned so far. Then there is issue of special category status. What we are seeking from central government is hand holding in fiscal sense till the level playing ground with neighbouring states - Tamil Nadu and Karnataka is achieved,” he said.
According to him, Central government had extended Rs. 850 crore for the construction of the state capital - Amaravati till date and Rs. 500 crore each for Vijayawada and Guntur for particular projects. He said efforts are on to complete the first phase of Polavaram by 2018. “Pattiseema project is near completion and once it is operational, 80 tmc of water would be brought to Krishna Delta from Godavari,” he said.
Praising the energy department for its performance in the last fiscal, he explained how the state had successfully achieved the convergence of funds from various sources, including 14th Finance Commission, MGNERGA, NABARD and others for taking up cement roads in the state and farm ponds.
Expressing satisfaction over the response to the changes brought in the utilisation of diagnostic equipment in government hospitals by private parties benefitting the people at large, he claimed there is lot of satisfaction to the medical services being provided under NTR Vaidya Seva.
He also explained the benefits for Farmers Produces Organisations and how the proposed networking of 35 agriculture and allied commodities will help the farming community. However, he expressed concern over the low level of skills in the state despite progress in technology and emphasized the need for focus on improving the skills of the people in the state.
■ State should have double digit growth rate to bail itself out of the financial crisis
■ Target for 2016-17 fixed at 15 per cent
■ State budget for 2016-17 to lay emphasis on welfare and development
■ CM says poor cannot be ignored even if the state is facing financial problems
■ Centre provided only Rs. 2,300 crore while the state’s fiscal deficit is Rs. 16,070 crore
■ Centre extended Rs. 850 crore for the construction of Amaravati
■ First phase of Polavaram to be completed by 2018