Fiscal council on Budget is not needed: AP finance minister Buggana
DECCAN CHRONICLE | dc correspondent
Vijayawada: State Finance Minister Buggana Rajendranath on Friday ruled out the need to set up a fiscal council to implement the state budget as was proposed by the Opposition parties.
In a statement, the minister said the Union minister of state for finance Pankaj Choudhary had also informed Parliament that there was no need to set up a fiscal council as agencies like the comptroller and auditor general of India, the finance commission and the national statistical commission were already in existence.
The minister said the 2020-21 financial year was different from previous periods as it was affected by the pandemic-linked closures and lockdowns, hurting economic growth both at national and state levels.
As a result, AP’s revenues dwindled by Rs 8,000 crore. Yet, the state spent Rs 7,120 crore to curb the Covid spread. "Despite the financial crisis, we were implementing the budget provisions of the last fiscal," he said.
The finance minister said the YSRC government spent Rs 1.20 lakh crore for the welfare of the poor in the state. "Such a huge spend for welfare schemes was done nowhere else in the country, and yet the Telugu Desam leaders are levelling baseless allegations against the government as they are unable to tolerate the goodwill the state government earned from the poor."
He dismissed the criticism that welfare schemes for the poor would add to the inflationary trends in the state.
He also rebutted the TD’s allegations that corruption had gone up during the YSR Congress rule. "We provided Rs 1.20 lakh crore to the people under various schemes, under the direct benefit transfer (DBT) system for the welfare of the poor," he said.
The minister said the previous government led by Chandrababu Naidu lacked financial discipline. This resulted in AP falling in a debt trap. Hence, the TD has no moral right to criticise the YSRC government for the present financial crisis, he said.
"The YSRC government cleared pending bills worth Rs 41,900 crore for works done in previous years by contractors etc, as the TD government failed to pay them their dues before it exited from power in 2019. This was mainly because of the raising of the loan for power purchase and distribution of the order of Rs 46,200 crore. The TD government had also raised an additional loan of Rs 20,000 crore on the AP Civil Supplies Corporation, by flouting all the norms," the minister alleged.