With coffers running dry, Chandrababu Naidu as CM faces huge challenge to deliver ‘Super Six’ promise

As a precursor to his financial challenges, Naidu needs over ₹4,500 crore for social pensions to about 65 lakh beneficiaries by 1 July.

ByPTI

Published Jun 10, 2024 | 4:25 PMUpdatedJun 10, 2024 | 4:25 PM

Chandrababu Naidu adressing the press

TDP supremo N Chandrababu Naidu who is set to take the reins of power in Andhra Pradesh shortly will have the daunting task of making bleak coffers ring to fulfill the “Super Six” that his party promised during the run-up to the recently concluded Assembly polls.

Naidu is scheduled to be sworn in as Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh on 12 June.

As a precursor to his journey of financial challenges, Naidu needs over ₹4,500 crore to disburse social pensions to about 65 lakh beneficiaries by 1 July.

As part of his “Super Six”, Naidu promised to hike the monthly pension to ₹4,000 from the existing ₹3,000 along with a backlog of ₹3,000 (₹1,000 for April, May and June) from July.

All together it would cost the exchequer ₹4,500 crore in July, besides salaries to employees and pensioners which is pegged at another ₹6,000 crore. The new TDP government will have to mop up over ₹10,000 crore to fulfill the financial requirements for July, a retired senior bureaucrat said.

According to him, the state government has a committed expenditure of nearly ₹1.30 lakh crore annually to meet the requirements of salaries, pensions, loan repayments and interests.

Also Read: Chandrababu Naidu, the king maker and his tryst with BJP-led NDA

Financial strain with TDP’s poll promises

According to the Reserve Bank website, the Andhra government offered to sell securities worth ₹2,000 crore on 11 June through auction. The state needs ₹2,600 crore every month to meet the social pension alone.

Similarly, as part of the manifesto, the Telugu Desam Party promised free travel to women in government-run buses.

An official of Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation said the APSRTC earns about ₹450 to ₹500 crore through ticket revenue monthly and women passengers are expected to be in the range of 35-40 percent.

He, however, said there was no study on women travellers done so far in the state. According to him, the Telangana RTC which implements a similar scheme estimated that women constitute nearly 50 per cent of the total commuters.

Towards the free travel scheme, the new government will have to reimburse nearly ₹2,000 crore annually to the APSRTC.

Under “Super Six,” the TDP also promised ₹15,000 to every school-going child per annum. The outgoing YRS Congress Party government had earmarked ₹6,500 crore towards a similar scheme called “Amma Vodi.”

With Naidu removing the cap on the number of beneficiaries, the amount may go up substantially.

The party also promised three free cooking gas cylinders to every household per year and ₹20,000 annual financial assistance to every farmer, among others.

According to the government budget document 2023-24, the state has ₹4.83 lakh crore public debt (33.3 percent of GSDP), besides ₹1.39 lakh crore government guarantees and ₹26,296 crore of loans from the Centre.

The total Revenue Receipts in the Budget (vote-on-account) for 2024-25 are estimated at ₹2,05,352.19 crore while the expenditure was pegged at ₹2,30,110.41 crore.

While launching the YSRCP manifesto during the run-up to the recently concluded Assembly polls, the outgoing Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy alleged it will cost an exorbitant ₹1.21 lakh crore per annum to fulfil the TDP’s poll promises.

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