Andhra Pradesh chief minister Jaganmohan Reddy spoke to Vinod Sharma approximately the delay in GST payments, the new education policy, the three-Capitals system, and his YSR Congress Party’s relationship with the Bharatiya Janata Party among other issues. Edited excerpts:
The Centre has lagged at the back of in paying GST compensation to states. Whether the stalemate lingers, are you open to borrowing from the market? What’ll be its have an effect on on Andhra’s exchequer?
It is okay. They’re taking time, and so far paying a little late. It isn’t that they have got drastically cut down. They have got been passing on [the money] with some delays. This is comprehensible keeping in view the Covid situation and its have an effect on on the country’s economy. The only way to triumph over the crisis is borrowing. The Centre has also asked the states to go for extra borrowings. As we cannot tax people more, we are working on imaginable extra revenue generating options.
In the context of the New Education Policy (NEP), how do you move forward with your promise of English medium in schools?
The problem is till Class V. The new education policy says after Class V, there is not any compulsion to have mother tongue as the medium of instruction. In other words, we will be able to execute English medium in schools from Class VI the way we have designed and deliberate. Up to Class V, primacy must be provided to the mother tongue. While conforming to the national policy, we will be able to start giving increasingly inputs on English up to Class V in order that the students are equipped to switch over to English medium from Class VI.
We determined to introduce English medium not because we love English and wish to neglect our mother tongue. This is because we wanted to usher in equity. Those who can have enough money it are sending their kids to English medium schools while the children of naughty people are being forced to study in regional languages. Students with private school background are taking absent a major chunk of the jobs in private and non-private sectors. The idea of English medium education is to create an equal platform. Whether private schools across the country introduce mother tongue as the medium of instruction till Class V, in conformation with the new education policy, then there is not any issue at all.
After the creation of Telangana, your predecessor Chandrababu Naidu sought special category status from the Centre for Andhra. He wanted to build in the state a revenue-earning city comparable to Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Chennai. Not much has been heard of that since you became the CM.
We cannot surrender the demand for special category status. An agro-based state like Andhra can take off industrially only whether some quality industrial incentives are provided. That will be the biggest incentive as revenue deficit is being taken care of anyhow. Both the preceding Finance Commission and present Finance Commission have addressed the revenue deficit issue. The so-called financial package isn’t going to help address the essential issue of industrial incentives.
On the issue of revenue-earning city, I call it perverted thinking. Nowhere on this planet has it been proved. Major cities grow over decades and centuries. Making an investment Rs 1 lakh crore to build a mega metro isn’t viable. Omit approximately extra revenue, you can not even repay the debt which you have spent on infrastructure. What’s the contribution of major cities of the United States to its economy? Take for instance a place called Omaha. With 4 lakh population, it headquarters 23 of the Fortune 500 companies of the world. That is where Warren Buffet stays. Invoice Gates operates from Seattle.
We will have growth centres where industries may also be promoted. The Covid experience tells us that many of the cities in the long run turn into sick. Do we have that many resources to build the so-called Amaravathi? The Boston Consultancy Group analysed it from economic perspective and said its investments aren’t viable.
That brings one to your plans to have separate capitals for the three arms of the State: the executive, the judiciary and the legislature. The matter is sub-judice. But you’ll be able to share the administrative vision at the back of the move.
The three capitals is a layman’s insight. The capital city’s functions are being distributed: executive functions from Visakhapatnam, legislative functions from Amaravathi, and judicial functions from Kurnool. These are the exact words used by Sivaramakrishnan Committee. The capital’s functions may also be distributed among different places. Why a majority of these functions must be delivered from a specific place?
The residuary state of Andhra Pradesh suffered twice prior to now because of Chennai and Hyderabad. That’s what history tells us. Whether you lay your entire eggs in one basket you’ll suffer. Then why you need to continue with the same approach without bearing in mind the past experiences? It isn’t logical and rationale thinking.
The document prepared by the preceding regime says that you want Rs 1 lakh crore. Instead of planning to build a so-called city at a place which isn’t suitable for construction of any mega structures in 33,000 acres land acquired or pooled from farmers, he (Naidu) could have deliberate something in 500 acres elsewhere. The special investigating team is probing land-deals unearthing benamis of my predecessor and his cronies. People with vested interests purchased lands from naughty farmers. Then came the announcement of the capital and subsequent scam. Those who purchased lands at throwaway prices benefited to the tune of thousands of crores of rupees.
What do you say to the criticism that you need to downgrade Amaravathi to slight Naidu?
This is absurd. Why must we bother approximately Amaravathi? We imagine in the overall development of the state. We did not leave Amaravathi. The legislature will continue to work from Amaravathi.
How do you describe your equation with the BJP, which your party has regularly supported in the Parliament? Are you a proximate ally or an issue-based supporter?
We place the interests of our state ahead of other [matters] and navigate in that direction in dealing with each issue. We imagine that the special category status for Andhra will be a reality, whether not now, then in the close future. Our improve will be issue-based and will dovetail the betterment of our state in each aspect.