Vijayawada: Finance minister Buggana Rajendranath clarified that the state government has borrowed more than permissible limits as the Centre relaxed norms due to the lockdown caused due to the Coronavirus. He said that the government gave priority to welfare over development and pumped money to revive the state economy.

"The revenue receipts have increased for the financial year 2020-21compared to 2019-20," he stated. The minister said the state was in a revenue deficit after bifurcation and criticised Naidu for pushing the state into more severe debt.

Buggana commented that the previous government had incurred non-priority expenditure despite severe revenue deficit. He said that the state revenue came down due to COVID-19, resulting in a hike in expenditure, where hundreds of crores had to be spent on COVID-19 detail. The minister asserted that the state government did not hold back any welfare schemes despite having a decline in state revenue, as Chief Minister Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy clearly wanted the government to stand by the people in such tough times. He said that the financial aid being provided to the people was done directly through DBT, without any brokerage system.

Going into the details, the revenue collection in June 2019-20 was Rs 3,541 crore, while revenue collection in June 2020-21 was Rs 5,781 crore. The deficit narrowed to minus 12.9 percent in the first quarter of 2020-21, down from minus 5.5 percent in the third quarter and minus 3 percent in the last quarter. He said that Andhra Pradesh stood second in the country in GST revenue collections, with a growth of eight percent between 2019-20 (up to December).

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