Andhra Pradesh Finance Minister Buggana Rajendranath Reddy said on Tuesday that the state’s outstanding debt was lower than the debt of other states.
He also claimed that the state had not incurred any debt beyond the authorized limit.
Criticized attempts to project Andhra Pradesh as the only state in debt, the finance minister told reporters in Delhi that after the Covid crisis each state borrowed money and the Center also increased its debt.
He condemned the attempts to sow panic among the people. Referring to statement by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in Parliament on Monday, he said the question put to him was not about Andhra Pradesh but a section of the media tried to spread lies to mislead people.
The minister said the government’s outstanding debt in 2020 was Rs 3,07,671 crore, and increased to Rs 3,60,333 crore in 2021, and Rs 3,98,903 crore in 2022.
He cited statistics to support his claim that Andhra Pradesh’s debt was lower than that of other states. He said Karnataka’s debt was Rs 3.38 lakh crore in 2020, Rs.4.1 lakh crore in 2021 and Rs.4.61 lakh crore in 2022. So Karnataka’s debt increased by Rs 60 000 crore every year.
Kerala’s debt was Rs 2.67 lakh crore in 2020, Rs 3.5 lakh crore in 2021 and Rs 3.35 lakh crore in 2022, he said, adding that its debt had also increased by Rs 45 000 crores per year.
Similarly, Telangana’s debt has also increased by Rs 45,000 crore per year. The state had a debt of Rs 2.25 lakh crore in 2020, and this rose to Rs 2.67 lakh crore in 2021 and Rs 3.12 lakh crore in 2022.
Tamil Nadu’s debt has increased by Rs 1 lakh crore per year – from Rs 4.62 lakh crore in 2020 to Rs 5.59 lakh crore in 2021 and Rs 6.59 lakh crore in 2022.
Rajendranath Reddy blamed the previous Telugu Desam Party (TDP) government for indiscriminate borrowing between 2014 and 2019.
He also dismissed reports that the inflation rate in Andhra Pradesh is the highest among the states. He said the inflation rate in Andhra Pradesh had been reduced to 3% and pointed out that the inflation rate in neighboring Telangana was 4.13%.
The minister also said that the government of the YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) was acting with financial discipline.