Centre must give more funds to Andhra Pradesh: Governor
HYDERABAD: Governor E. S. L. Narasimhan on Saturday stressed the need for the Union government to provide needed financial assistance to Andhra Pradesh to enable it to compete with other developed cities and to stand on par with neighboring Telangana..
He was addressing the joint session of the Andhra Pradesh Legislature to mark commencement of budget session on Saturday. The TDP government did not leave any opportunity to utilized in the Governors’ speech to express its grievance against the BJP-led Central government for not giving adequate financial assistance to Andhra Pradesh.
The Governor’s address articulated Mr. Chandrababu Naidu’s view that the Centre had ignored the commitments contained in the AP Reorganisation Act as well as the Prime Minister’s speech in the Rajya Sabha that Andhra Pradesh would be granted special category status, given a separate railway zone besides funds for capital development, a special development package for backward areas in seven districts besides incentives to attract industries and money to bridge the huge revenue deficit.
He expressed disappointment over the 14th Finance Commission’s recommendations as well as the Union Budget for not announcing any handholding support to compensate for the significant loss in its resource base after division of the State. About the allocation of just Rs. 100 crore in the budget for the Polavaram Project, the Governor said it had put the State’s plans in disarray. However, the State would make all-out efforts to complete it by March 2018.
The Governor outlined the various welfare and development projects on the anvil and said the State Government had decided to appoint one woman Deputy Superintendent April 1 this year for the safety and security of woman. It was framing a model of Port-led development and Andhra Pradesh will be made the logistic hub and gateway to South East Asia. A proposal to develop one Green Field International Airport at Bhogapuram, near Visakhapatnam was under consideration.
7.21 per cent growth in 2014-15
Mr. Narasimhan said the State had recorded 7.21% in 2014-15. All the three sectors, agriculture, industry and services have shown encouraging growth. He also said that, the government is envisaging a double digit growth and identified nearly 40 growth engines spreading across the three main sectors of the economy.
It was committed to implementing the debt redemption scheme in respect of crop loans through ‘Farmers Empowerment Organization’. So far government completed the first phase of the scheme providing relief to a tune of Rs. 5,000 crore to the eligible farmers and finalizing the second phase beneficiary farmers.
The government had begun drafting the long term Vision 2050 document that will usher in a new development paradigm leveraging the opportunities arising due to renewed growth climate. He acknowledged that the State’s development had been dented by the adverse impact of bifurcation.
Master plan for new capital by June
The Governor said the first phase of the master plan of the new capital will be ready by June this year. The Capital Region Development Authority (CRDA) was entrusted with the development activity.
“The most welcome and exhilarating feature of the biggest of its kind land pooling in the country, and perhaps in the world, is that nearly 33,000 acres of land has been voluntarily given by enthusiastic farmland owners, who have become willing partners in the development of the capital”.
The US government signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Government of Andhra Pradesh for developing Visakhapatnam as smart city. Under the MoU, the US government would provide funds and technical inputs for feasibility studies, study tours and workshops to materialize the idea into reality, the Governor added.
Mr. Narasimhan said the State government’s Information Technology policy aimed at achieving 5 per cent share in national IT exports. The focus would be on development of two ITIRs, promotion of 10 IT hubs, 20 manufacturing clusters and creation of five lakh jobs. The new IT policy envisaged broadband connectivity to every household.
Prime focus on disaster management
The Government, he said, would lay greater focus on disaster management in the wake of Hudhud cyclone affected the steel city of Visakhapatnam last year. He said the government was planning to make the Hudhud affected areas ‘cyclone proof’ with the support of World Bank putting in place an underground cabling and other infrastructure works.
The reconstruction works were continuing in the affected areas. A United Nations report, which has put the losses at US $ 11 billion in Hudhud cyclone, lauded the commitment and timely rescue operations undertaken by the government and praised the disaster preparedness and timely evacuation that saved many lives, he mentioned.
He said that the government was undertaking several works to renovate the existing infrastructure as well as create additional facilities on a big scale in the towns which host the Godavari Pushkaram later this year. (NSS)