TDP's freebies to cost Rs 1.32 lakh crore

TDP's freebies to cost Rs 1.32 lakh crore

Stung twice by the freebie bug, in 2004 and 2009, the regional Telugu Desam Party (TDP) has taken the middle path in 2014 to promote development and provide sops to please the haves and the have-nots.

However, Naidu is saddled with freebies even though they go against the principles of austerity and targeted growth in the budding states of Telangana and Seemandhra. “A focus on freebies, women, farmers and Muslims is the hallmark of the TDP manifesto, which if implemented by the party when in power, would result in a burden of a whopping Rs1.32 lakh crore on the divided exchequer,” said retired bureaucrat A K Goel.

TDP president N Chandrababu Naidu on Monday released party manifestos for both Telangana and the successor state of Andhra Pradesh, fulfilling the assurances he made during his marathon 2,875-km ‘Padayatra’ christened as “Vasthunna Mee Kosam” in 2012-13 across the state.

Unlike the past, Naidu and TDP has heavily tilted towards welfare in all sectors covering agriculture, employment, women safety, etc. Naidu, who refused to form a separate Telangana unit, had however reconciled to project two different manifestos each for Telangana and the residuary AP.

The financial outlay of the sops offered by the TDP in one go would amount to Rs.1.32 lakh crore as per records indicated by outgoing CM Kiran Kumar Reddy, now chief of the Jai Samaikyandra Party. Farmers’ loans alone were around Rs 85,000 crore and the SHG women loans (popularly termed as ‘pavala vaddi’) were roughly around Rs13,000 crore The TDP has offered to waive off loans of minor sectors like the SC/ST too. Naidu has also announced to the middle class and poor sections to not pay electricity bills as the same would be waived off if the TDP came to power.

While development of basic infrastructure in education, healthcare, industrialisation, and IT sector have been a priority for the TDP in the Seemandhra region, in Telangana, stress has been laid on utilising the existing infrastructure to make it a research hub.

Some of the major schemes that the TDP is contemplating include special budgets for agriculture and allied sectors, prioritisation of irrigation projects, free education from KG to post graduation for poor and low-income group students, and a comprehensive health scheme named after party founder N T Rama Rao for all, in place of the Arogyasri launched by YSR.