Naidu rule: an era of fiscal indiscipline and corruption

Former Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu has at every opportunity projected himself as a financial wizard with the capacity to raise unlimited amounts of funds for his pet projects.
Reports of the constitutional financial watch dog, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) have however indicated just the opposite and that his governance was throughout undermined by incompetence, corruption, unnecessary expenditure, financial
indiscipline, embezzlement and even violation of the constitution.
The CAG pointed this out repeatedly in its reports and the most recent report for 2017-18 tabled in the 2020 Winter Session of the Legislative Assembly was no exception.
Financial pundits in their comments pointed out that the CAG report highlighted the financial indiscipline of Mr Chandrababu Naidu who was at the helm of affairs during the period. Even as his government borrowed huge amounts from various financial institutions at
relatively high rates of interest the it failed to spend the amounts showing the utter disregard it had for public funds, the pundits said.
Having made huge allocations in the budget under different heads the funds were shown as not spent in the closing accounts, as per the CAG report. While Rs 16,051.13 crore were allocated for different projects in the year the erstwhile TDP government spent only Rs
6,874.79 crore, according to the CAG report. In other words as much as Rs 9,176.84 crore were not spent.
The CAG report pointed out that funds to the tune of Rs. 3,515.48 crore allocated for rural development were not spent that year. Similarly Rs 2,734.99 crore allocated for Amaravati development, Rs 2,750 for Roads and Building, Rs 1,294.56 crore for municipalities, Rs 1,486.81 crore for minor irrigation were not spent. The borrows of the state by March 2018
was Rs2,23,706 crore.
In an earlier report CAG pointed out that the Naidu Government was abusing the Personal Account Deposit(PAD) meant purely for small miscellaneous expenses. While the funds in these accounts should not cross a few hundred crores the Naidu government deposited Rs
53,039 crore at one point.
Not only did the Naidu government abuse the PAD account, it also used the provision not to give information to the CAG and keep it in the dark, the agency pointed out in its report.
“Though the CAG is not an agency that investigates into corruption and is meant primarily for analysis and suggestion a lot of scams are brought to light in the thorough examination conducted by it. It is also binding on the state governments to provide the constitutional
agency all information,” a chartered accountant said.
The Naidu government diverting thousands of crores into the Personal Account Deposit reeks of fraud to embezzle public funds. Here is another instance of Mr Chandrababu Naidu trying to subvert the system and benefit from the role of being a custodian of public property.
Mr Naidu repeatedly told the public that the state of AP was poor because of bifurcation, but in reality funds allocated under different heads were lapsing. The objective behind this charade was to embezzle public funds and details of his offences were coming out now, the
CA pointed out. Another victim of these financial vagaries was transparency the absence of which made it easier to embezzle public money, he said.

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