A delegation led by Andhra Pradesh Finance Minister Buggana Rajendranath Reddy on Friday met Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and other central ministers demanding early release of the pending Rs 3,832.89 crore GST compensation and other grants to the state besides extra funds in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.
The delegation also called on Minister of State for Finance Anurag Thakur, Minister of Jal Shakti Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Minister of State for Home Affairs G Kishan Reddy, Niti Ayog CEO Amitabh Kant and its Advisor Avinash Mishra and discussed various pending projects and issues related to the Polavaram project.
In a meeting with the Union finance minister, Buggana Rajendranath explained the need for early release of pending grants to Andhra Pradesh, an official statement said. He requested the Centre to release the pending amount of Rs 3,832.89 crore to the state towards GST compensation, Rs 3,805.62 crore towards Polavaram project, Rs 1,597.27 crore towards local bodies grant and Rs 700 crore towards development assistance to backward districts.
The state”s finance minister also demanded the Centre for early release of revenue deficit grant of Rs 18,830.87 crore as claimed by the state government. He said the local bodies require additional support during this COVID-19 pandemic. Early release of these funds to the state will ensure the uninterrupted delivery of essential services to the citizens.
In his meeting with the Jal Shakti minister, Buggana Rajendranath underlined the need to set up a “revolving fund” and reimburse the funds spent by the state government on the mega Polavaram project. “In order to avoid delay, we suggested setting up a revolving fund, which would be easy to withdraw funds immediately after spending on the Polavaram project. Otherwise, the Jal Shakti ministry recommends NABARD and then to the finance ministry for payment which takes a longer time,” he said.
The state finance minister also discussed new projects such as Uttarandhra Sujala Sravanthi, Rayalaseema irrigation projects, drinking water projects concerning districts of Godavari, Prakasam, and YSR district. In the interest of realisation of the benefits under the Polavaram project by the farmers, he requested the Union minister for early reimbursement of Rs 3,805.62 crore.
He also wanted the Union minister to authorise NABARD for raising credit for Rs 15,000 crore, required for the project activities, in the current financial year. In his meeting with the MoS for Home Affairs, Buggana Rajendranath sought assurance that the provisions in the AP Reorganisation Act will be implemented.
He also met the Niti Aayog CEO and its advisor and requested them to recommend funds for various projects in the state. The finance minister was accompanied by Principal Advisor to AP Government Ajeya Kallam; Special Chief Secretary (Water Resources) Adityanath Das; and Principal Secretary (Finance) S S Rawat.