AP govt faces financial crisis as legislature adjourned sine die without passing appropriation bill
The Andhra Pradesh government i snow in a quandary , as it cannot draw any money from the treasury with effect from July 1 in the absence of the approval from the legislature for the appropriation bill.Updated: Jun 17, 2020 22:46 IST
In an unprecedented development, the Andhra Pradesh state legislative council was on Wednesday adjourned sine die without passing the appropriation bill which is mandatory for the state to spend the government funds under various heads as per budgetary allocations.
As a result, the state government has been left in a quandary, as it cannot draw even a single rupee from the treasury with effect from July 1, in absence of the approval from the legislature for the bill.
The state assembly in the morning passed the appropriation bill, 2020-21 and referred it to the state legislative council for approval. The state legislature was convened for only two days to approve the state budget and pass the appropriation bill.
However, soon after the bill was brought before the legislative council, members of the ruling YSR Congress party and the opposition Telugu Desam Party indulged in heated arguments.
TDP member and former finance minister Yanamala Ramakrishnudu insisted that the appropriation bill be introduced first and taken up for discussion, since it was mandatory for the bill to be passed to facilitate the state government draw money to spend as per budgetary allocations.
The ruling party, however, did not agree for the same and insisted that the council first discuss the crucial bills which were passed by the assembly on Tuesday.
Two of these bills – AP Capital Region Development Authority (Repeal) Bill 2020 and Decentralisation of Administration-Inclusive Development of All Regions Bill 2020 – aimed at creation of three capitals for the state were strongly opposed by the TDP.
These bills were originally passed in the state assembly in January this year, but were stalled by the TDP in the council and were referred to the select committee. However, the legislature secretariat refused to constitute the select committee on the ground that due procedure was not followed by council chairman. The TDP members challenged the same in the high court.
After four months, the YSRC government reintroduced the two bills in the assembly and got them passed on Tuesday. However, in the council, the TDP members on Wednesday stalled the bills again stating that they cannot be passed since the issue was still pending in the high court.
Ramakrishnudu said the discussion on the two bills could be taken up later after the passage of the appropriation bill. However, minister for finance Buggana Rajendranath Reddy said as per the traditions, the appropriation bill should be the last bill to be passed in the House.
With the state government refusing to take up the appropriation bill first, deputy chairman of the council Reddy Subrahmanyam asked Ramakrishnudu to take up the discussion under Rule 90 of the legislative procedures to reject the two bills pertaining to the three capitals.
This led to a pandemonium in the House till late in the evening, forcing the deputy chairman adjourn the council sine die, without passing any bill including the mandatory appropriation bill.
Even after the adjournment of the council, members of the ruling party and TDP indulged in arguments and counter arguments. YSRC members alleged that two TDP members manhandled a minister who objected to TDP MLC Nara Lokesh taking pictures on his mobile on what was happening in the House.
YSRC floor leader Ummareddy Venkateshwarlu said the TDP had created an unruly atmosphere in the House to ensure that the appropriation bill was not passed and the government would face Constitutional stalemate. He also criticised the deputy chairman for adjourning the House abruptly.
“By not passing the Appreciation Bill, they created a situation where the government cannot draw even a single rupee from tomorrow. We cannot pay salaries from July. They will remain as a blot in the history of the state”, he said.
Another senior member Pilli Subhash Chandra Bose said finance minister B Rahendranath Reddy had requested with folded hands to allow the appreciation bill be passed so as to avoid a Constitutional stalemate, but the deputy chairman ignored his request.
Ramakrishnudu, however, said the TDP had repeatedly requested the government to take approval for the appropriation bill first and then move the other bills. “But they did not listen and wanted the capital bills first. Finally, their strategy boomeranged. The government should find alternatives to overcome the crisis,” he said.