It appears Andhra Pradesh is suffering from severe financial crunch to pay even salaries to the staff, let alone taking up welfare and developmental programmes.
Though lack of funds is a reality, the Chandrababu Naidu government is trying to cover up the crisis blaming it on a software glitch in the finance department.
Sources said it has resulted in freezing of bill payments running into thousands of crores of rupees in the state for the last one month.
More than 22,000 government employees are yet to get their salary for the month of March.
In fact, the salary and pension for the other employees were paid only on April 7, a week behind schedule. There are a total of 7.9 lakh employees and pensioners on government rolls in the state.
The non-release of funds by the Centre is being cited as one reason for the cash crunch.
“We have to get about Rs 3,000 crore for the multipurpose Polavaram project and another Rs 350 crore under the backward districts development grant. This has been causing a strain on our payments position,” a senior official of the Finance Department pointed out.
In all, payments worth Rs 8,000 crore have been stalled “for various reasons,” the official said.
This apart, another Rs 1,500 crore worth bills have been pending with the Treasury due to non-clearance by the state government.
Of Rs 8,000 crore, half relate to payments for capital works and the balance to various government schemes.
In January, cultural shows were organised in all the 175 Assembly constituencies in the state as part of the state government’s 10-day mass outreach programme ‘Janmabhoomi,’ but the artists have not been paid their remuneration yet.
“We could not pay even Rs 1,000 to an artist, which is really painful. We have adequate budget, but the government stalled all payments,” rued an official of the Department of Culture.
The Department of Culture, in all, owes over Rs 3 crore to artists for various programmes.
“Without salary, majority of the Kuchipudi teachers are reluctant to work and we can’t force them.