Chandrababu Naidu is Andhra CM, eyes Rs 1L cr for Amravati project : The Tribune India

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Chandrababu Naidu is Andhra CM, eyes Rs 1L cr for Amravati project

Faces challenges of raising funds, keeping poll promises

Chandrababu Naidu is Andhra CM, eyes Rs 1L cr for Amravati project

PM Narendra Modi with Andhra CM N Chandrababu Naidu. PTI



Tribune News Service

Aditi Tandon

New Delhi, June 12

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in attendance, Telugu Desam Party (TDP) president Nara Chandrababu Naidu on Wednesday took oath as Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister for the fourth time, gearing up for what will potentially be his most challenging term as he moves to boost the state’s flailing finances and keep ambitious poll promises to the people.

Editorial: Two good for Naidu

Naidu, 74, who put Hyderabad on the IT map of the world in his first two successive terms as the CM starting 1995, will be watched for his ability to negotiate a generous fiscal deal with Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led NDA government at the Centre. TDP sources say conservative costs for building Amravati as the Andhra capital are Rs 1 lakh crore.

These estimates have varied. P Narayana, former Andhra Pradesh urban development minister, had in 2018 put the cost of building a world-class capital at Rs 5 lakh crore. Narayana has again been made minister in the Naidu Cabinet today.

Naidu had himself in 2013 pegged the project cost at Rs 4.5 lakh crore, urging the Centre to be liberal with funds. “The actual package requirement is being worked out,” the TDP sources said.

Industry estimates, however, suggest Rs 40,000 crore would be required currently for the Amravati project — up from Rs 21,000 crore estimated by Andhra Pradesh Capital Region Development Authority during Naidu’s previous stint as the CM.

The TDP had lost power in the state to the YSRCP in 2019. TDP sources say the fiscal package demand for Andhra Pradesh was bound to exceed the cost for the capital city alone and would need to factor in the challenges behind reviving the state’s fragile economy.

With the hopes for these finances, Naidu has currently settled for one Cabinet and one Minister of State rank in the Union Council of Ministers. Going forward, the CM would also need to shore up funds to fulfil “super six” guarantees made to the people on the eve of the recent Assembly elections which the NDA bloc swept.

The guarantees include — Rs 3,000 monthly allowance for the jobless, Rs 15,000 annually to every school-going child, Rs 20,000 annually to farmers, three gas cylinders per household every year, Rs 1,500 per month to women aged 18 to 59 years and free travel for women in state-run buses.

The YSRCP has said Naidu would need Rs 1.2 lakh crore annually to meet his election pledges alone. Andhra’s public debt is currently estimated at around Rs 4.83 lakh crore — over 33 per cent of its gross state domestic product. In the coming months, Naidu will be judged by his success in putting Andhra back on the rails.

The TDP chief took oath with 25 ministers, including Janasena chief Pawan Kalyan and his son and TDP general secretary Nara Lokesh. While the Janasena, one of the two NDA allies in Andhra besides the BJP, bagged three berths in the Naidu Cabinet, BJP got one.

The Andhra Cabinet can have 26 ministers given the Assembly strength of 175 out of which the NDA alliance won 164 seats. In an important gesture, PM Modi gave a bear hug to Naidu after the latter took oath, delivering the “all is well in NDA” message to the people.

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