Chandrababu Naidu Meets Nirmala Sitharaman Ahead of Union Budget

New Delhi, July 5 2024 :  Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu, currently visiting the national capital, met with Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday. The discussions likely focused on various aspects of the southern state’s development. The meeting comes ahead of the much-awaited Union Budget for 2024-25, which is expected to be tabled later this month.

Three Union ministers from Naidu’s Telugu Desam Party (TDP), recently inducted into the PM Modi-led Cabinet—Ram Mohan Naidu Kinjarapu, Chandra Sekhar Pemmasani, and Bhupathiraju Srinivasa Varma—were also present during the meeting with Sitharaman.

Naidu’s visit to Delhi included earlier meetings with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and seven Cabinet ministers—Amit Shah, Nitin Gadkari, Piyush Goyal, Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Manohar Lal, and Hardeep Singh Puri. He raised multiple issues related to respective ministries during these discussions.

Naidu emphasized the need for effective coordination for timely intervention and action by the Central government. During his meeting with PM Modi, Naidu highlighted that Andhra Pradesh continues to face challenges due to what he described as the unscientific, unfair, and unjust bifurcation of 2014.

“I am confident that under his leadership, our State will re-emerge as a powerhouse among states,” Naidu wrote on his X timeline after meeting PM Modi. He also criticized the previous administration’s governance, which he said was marked by “malice, corruption, and mis-governance,” dealing a severe blow to the state beyond the bifurcation itself.

Naidu informed the Prime Minister that Andhra Pradesh’s fiscal situation has significantly deteriorated. He noted that committed expenses, including salaries, pensions, and debt servicing, exceed the state’s revenue receipts, leaving no fiscal space for productive capital investment.

He sought financial support from the central government, including short-term assistance for state finances, commissioning of the Polavaram National Irrigation Project, completion of the government complex and trunk infrastructure of Amaravati, support for the backward regions of Andhra Pradesh similar to the Bundelkhand package, and development of the Duggirajupatnam port.

During his meeting with Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Naidu requested the release of Rs 385 crore as land cost for establishing the Greyhounds Training Centre and Rs 27.54 crore towards operational costs. He also discussed the division of assets under the Andhra Pradesh Reorganization Act of 2014 and requested an early review of the Andhra Pradesh IPS cadre, which has been pending since 2015. The review is expected to increase the current strength from 79 to 117.

In his meeting with Nitin Gadkari, Naidu requested the 6/8-laning of the existing highway from Hyderabad to Vijayawada, development of a greenfield express highway from Hyderabad to Amaravati, construction of the Vijayawada Eastern Bypass to decongest city traffic, and a 4-lane greenfield coastal highway from Mulapeta (Bhavanapadu) to Visakhapatnam.

During discussions with Piyush Goyal, Naidu sought financial assistance in the form of grants to provide essential external infrastructure—such as industrial water, power, railway, and road connectivity—for four industrial nodes (three in the VCIC corridor and one in the CBIC corridor) within the state.

In a meeting with Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Naidu proposed the establishment of an integrated aquapark and suggested devising a policy to increase subsidies for horticulture farmers. He also requested Hardeep Singh Puri to ask BPCL to set up a refinery in the state. “An announcement towards the establishment of a refinery in Andhra Pradesh by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas in the Full Budget Address of the Hon’ble Finance Minister will enhance the country’s refinery capacity as it strives to become a developed entity by the centenary of its independence in 2047,” another press note stated.

Additionally, Naidu had a productive meeting with Arvind Panagariya, Chairman of the 16th Finance Commission.

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