Graft during YSR rule was above norm in India: US cable

In the name of social programmes targeted at the common man, the YSR government had engaged in corruption “beyond the norm for India”, Wikileaks said, quoting the cable.

The YSR government’s “flagship programmes” construction of irrigation projects and houses for weaker sections were beset with corruption even as Rajasekhara Reddy used the populist spending programmes to great political effect, the cablet said.

“There is consensus in Andhra Pradesh that irrigation and housing programmes are beset with corruption. On separate visits to Hyderabad, we heard allegations of widespread graft from several neutral observers.

An economist who studies the effectiveness of government programmes in the state said with only ‘four to five companies executing the projects, there are many opportunities for graft in the irrigation programme’,” the Consul General said in the cable.

"Typically, five to seven percent is lost to corruption but in Reddy's irrigation programme, that figure is more like fifteen to twenty percent," he said.

While the housing programme will cost four to six billion dollars, the irrigation programme costs more than 11 billion dollars over five years on 26 major irrigation projects, the US cable said.

“Widespread corruption in the Congress government seems to be an open secret in Andhra Pradesh but the political impact is unclear,” the Consul General said.

The Consul General said "many elites are disgusted by the level of corruption in the Congress government. The sheer size of Reddy's signature programmes, with literally billions of dollars at play every year, leaves much room for ‘leakage’ to Congress party officials and their allies".

"But the size of the programmes also means that even with a substantial percentage lost to corruption, a lot of money still must be making its way to the common man”, it added.

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