Year of hits and flops for Andhra Pradesh

Amaravati: 2016 was a year of hits and flops for the two-and-a-half-year-old Andhra Pradesh with many contrasts in its new chapter of history.

The only momentous event to happen this year was the shifting of the state’s administrative base to the new capital region Amaravati from Hyderabad, the joint capital Andhra Pradesh could otherwise share with Telangana till June 1, 2024.

After many false starts, the Andhra Pradesh Secretariat (though temporary) finally started functioning at Velagapudi village fromOctober.

On the same note, the Chandrababu Naidu government’s single biggest failure thus far has been its inability to begin the development of the state’s new capital city.

After coming out with a series of spectacular images of the would-be capital city, the government spent the whole of 2016 without finalising a single design for Amaravati, thereby further delaying construction activity.

The state achieved a ‘double digit’ economic growth rate, the high point the administration boasts of.

In reality, however, the state is struggling to make ends meet because of huge revenue deficit – a carryover from the bifurcation (in June 2014).

In 2015-16, the state’s economy grew at 10.99 per cent and, in the first half of 2016-17, it went up to 12. There are too many ironies in the state’s economic story. The state’s revenue earnings rose to Rs. 22,800 crore in the first half of the 2016-17 financial year as against Rs.20,166 crore in the corresponding period last year, marking a 13.05 per cent increase.

But the mounting revenue deficit that stood at Rs. 6,641 crore during the first half of this fiscal has become worrisome. In fact, the government estimated an overall revenue deficit of Rs. 4,868 crore in 2016-17 but increased spending has resulted in a huge gap.

And now, demonetisation could not have come at a worst time for the state to cause a further dent to its sagging economy, with revenues dipping by 30 per cent.

The state topped the list in Ease of Doing Business rankings in the country but it didn’t really bring in expected or promised investments and everything remained only “in the pipeline” thus far.