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Vindictive Politics, Polarised Bureaucracy Hurting Jagan Reddy’s Mandate To Turbocharge The Economy

For Andhra Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, the Telugu state is still at a crossroads. The three capital initiatives — Amaravati-Vishakhapatnam-Kurnool — which is the cornerstone of his political policy has hit roadblocks as hundreds of farmers in Amaravati moved the High Court contesting Jagan’s South African style initiative. He was forced to backtrack. This means Amaravati will be the working capital until the AP government postulates its new comprehensive Bill. For Jagan Mohan Reddy, his massive electoral victory in 2019 has not translated into improved governance, shoring up revenues, attracting big-ticket manufacturing investment, and creating more jobs in the state. Instead, his priority and focus have been to reverse the policies of the previous TDP government-led Chandra Babu Naidu. Reddy, says insiders, are spending more time crushing erstwhile political opponents, targeting non-complying bureaucrats and constitutional functionaries, and continuing populist dole out measures without sufficient financial backup. In the first half of 2021-22, Andhra Pradesh’s revenue deficit soared by 663% while the fiscal deficit was up by 108%. Half of the government earnings has been directed towards freebies schemes, subsidies, bills, salaries, pensions, etc. The writing is on the wall: Andhra Pradesh desperately needs to shore up revenue and attract big-ticket investments to put its economy back on track. Can it?