VIJAYAWADA: Post State bifurcation, when the economic situation of the State was not encouraging, the then government not only had its priorities wrong but it also misled people by manipulating data to give a rosy picture of the agriculture sector, well-known economist D Narasimha Reddy said.
Delivering the inaugural address at the two-day seminar “Understanding and Reimagining Andhra Pradesh
- A critical appraisal of developments after 2014’ organised by the Institute for Research on Andhra Pradesh (IRAP) here on Sunday, he said one would have expected the policymakers to have learnt lessons post bifurcation, but they didn’t.
Instead of focusing on the decentralisation to address regional imbalances, which were more glaring in AP after the State bifurcation, the focus was more on building a world-class capital, repeating the same mistakes that happened in the undivided State by concentrating on centralised development of Hyderabad, he observed.
Pointing out at the inherited debt burden, which also showed the imbalance in the distribution of the debt between the two sibling States, Narasimha Reddy said that in the last five years, as per the white paper on finances released recently, the debt burden and liabilities have increased manifold.
He dismissed the argument of the Centre that according to special category status is not possible as a “blatant lie” and termed it a “politically motivated” one.
The economic expert expressed dismay over the data manipulation to project double-digit agriculture growth in the State from 2015 to 2018.
“I fail to understand how it was possible when five of the 13 districts were facing drought and most of the coastal districts were battered by cyclones. Depletion of groundwater levels and increasing debt burden have pushed farmers to suicides,” he maintained.
Narasimha Reddy elaborated that those who prepared the figures for agriculture growth had divided the agriculture sector into agriculture (low-value crops), horticulture (high-value crops), livestock and fisheries. As the price factor of agriculture crops could not be manipulated given the standard procedures adopted, but as there were no such standard procedures for horticulture, livestock and fisheries, the figures were manipulated.
He claimed that growth in agriculture was in negative during the TDP rule.