22-07-201922-07-2019 11:18:37 IST
Updated On 22-07-2019 14:15:46 ISTUpdated On 22-07-20192019-07-22T05:48:37.983Z22-07-2019 2019-07-22T05:48:24.196Z - 2019-07-22T08:45:46.012Z - 22-07-2019
The World Bank retreating from a $300-million financial commitment to Andhra Pradesh for the Amaravati capital development plan has dominated the headlines a few days ago. This has instantly sparked off a blame game between the TDP and the ruling YSRCP for the fallout. But within days, the New York-based bank provided a big anti-climax to the whole issue with its latest statement.
The World Bank stated that “it continues to support Andhra Pradesh with an over $1-billion programme that covers the health, agriculture, energy and disaster management sectors.” This includes a new $328-million support to the state’s health sector, signed with the Andhra Pradesh government on July 27, 2019, a release from the World Bank said. “As the new government sets its development priorities, we stand ready to provide whatever support the state and the Government of India might request,” it further stated.
This has come in as a shot in the arm for the ruling YSRCP leaders, who would be hoping to use this to hit back at the TDP for constantly breathing down the neck over the issue. Beyond the war of politics in the public domain, the underlying message from this episode is very clear: The World Bank is ready to extend financial aid to any priority sector of public importance but not to Amaravati capital development plan that ambitiously proposes urbanization on fertile agricultural lands.
Even though the World Bank has cited the Central government’s withdrawal of request for financing the Amaravati capital plan for dropping its financial commitment, it also comes in alignment with the approach of the new government in Andhra Pradesh led by Y S Jaganmohan Reddy.
Now that the World Bank has unequivocally spelt out its approach towards Andhra Pradesh, the YSRCP government was naturally expected to go full steam in taking advantage of it. But look at what the press release from the chief minister’s office says:
“The World Bank has given enough indications pointing at compensating the dropped $300-million loan for the capital city to other sectors and there is every possibility of an increase in the quantum of aid. The Washington-based bank is now not averse to extend the loan to Andhra Pradesh government, with YS Jaganmohan Reddy at the helm, should it mention its priorities,” it said.
In the release, the CMO was also quick to pounce on the previous Chandrababu Naidu government blaming the World Bank’s retreat from the Amaravati capital project on its alleged corrupt practices during its rule. But surprisingly, the CMO release hasn’t spoken of the $1-billion financial aid that the World Bank itself has highlighted in its statement.
It is not clear if it is a complete miss or was intentionally kept out in a conscious bid to tread on cautious lines. But imagine, if a development of this sort happening during Chandrababu Naidu’s rule. The TDP government would not only target its detractors with all guns blazing but would ensure that the fresh assistance of $1-billion becomes a compulsive headline for every media house across the country. Known for his ‘mastery in the make-believe art’, the TDP supremo would not squander an opportunity like this even in his sleep to create or restore positive image for his government.
The Jaganmohan Reddy government pales in contrast in this context with an intriguingly diffident approach, especially at a time when his government is being targeted on the issue. Already, his cabinet is being seen as a ‘group of greenhorns’ for its inexperience. This perhaps is an area where Jagan and his publicity team needs to take a leaf or two out of Naidu’s book..!
-Durga Prasad Kanamaluru
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