Vijayawada: AP finance minister Yanamala Ramakrishnudu has said that the Chief Secretary has no connection with the election process.
He said that the Chief Electoral Officer is responsible for the election process, including counting of votes. He objected to the reviews of the Chief Secretary on counting of votes and stated that it is a violation of norms.
The finance minister stated that election performance and counting, including reviews, is the responsibility of the CEO. He said that all the district collectors would automatically turn into returning officers, after the implementation of the election code and other officials will be treated as ‘working’, under the deputation of EC. He said that all the officials should work under the CEO’s supervision and that the CEO should conduct a review on election and counting process. He objected to the orders of CEO G.K. Dwivedi, to the officials, to attend the review meeting of CS L.V. Subramanyam on counting arrangements.
Mr Ramakrishnudu said that the CS cannot question allocation of funds to Pasupu Kumkuma, Social Security Pensions and farmers Pettubadi Sayam (investment aid) Annadata Sukhibhava as the three schemes got the approval of State Cabinet, was passed by the AP Assembly and got sanctions in the Vote on Account Budget.
He stated that YSRC went to the courts, including Delhi High Court, against the schemes but the court ruled out YSRC’s objections and allowed them to be exempted from the election code.
He said that three schemes were mentioned in the 2019-20 Budget speech. Hence, these did not come under the election code. He explained that increase of pension amount to 10 times, Pasupu Kumkuma and farmers’ investment aid were announced in the Budget speech. The finance minister further explained that sanction of `5,000 crore for Annadata Sukhibhava, `4,000 crore for Pasupu Kumkuma and sanction of category wise funds for Social Security Pensions were mentioned in detail in the Budget.
Mr Ramakrishnudu said that the AP Assembly passed the Vote on Account budget and the government distributed cheques to women and farmers, before the implementation of the election code. He claimed that funds of IGST also belongs to States as the Union Government has to distribute these funds to all States.
He said that the States will spend the IGST funds for welfare schemes which is lawful and questioning of spending IGST funds by the CS is severely objectionable. He said that the fourth and fifth instalments of agricultural loan waiver scheme will be paid by April-end and the first week of May.