The Andhra Pradesh government has requested the Centre to help the state market agriculture, horticulture and aquaculture produce in other parts of the country to keep the wheels of its economy moving.
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy has requested the Centre to take steps to enable seamless transportation and marketing of goods. The state, which was already facing financial woes after bifurcation, has seen a sharp drop in revenues since the lockdown started.
“In March 2019, it (revenue) was about Rs 8,000 crore per month, but this March and April, it would be less than Rs 1,000 crore,’’ Finance Minister B Rajendranath said.
A major concern for Andhra Pradesh is that godowns operated by Food Corporation of India (FCI) and Central Warehousing Corporation in the state are filled and there is no space to store Rabi harvest.
“The CM has requested the Centre to direct the departments concerned to clear the stocks from the godowns or create additional space on an emergency basis to store the incoming produce. The government has also asked the Centre to support the state by clearing the FCI dues,’’ an official said.
The state government also stated that while moving stocks out, measures should be initiated to allot them to the closest consumption points to save time and expenditure. “As of now, stocks are coming from north India even though transportation is expensive and plenty of stocks are available in godowns in the southern states,’’ an official said.
Agriculture contributes 34 per cent to the GSDP of Andhra Pradesh and 60 per cent of the state’s population is directly or indirectly dependent on agriculture.
The industrial sector has also taken a massive hit. About 94 per cent of MSMEs, which provide employment to more than 11 million people in the state, have closed due to the lockdown and the remaining are operating at 25-30 per cent capacity.
“The impact on businesses is likely to have a cascading effect across the value chain which may continue even after the lockdown restrictions have been eased owing to global slowdown in demand. Contractual, wage labour will face loss of jobs, leading to unrest and consequently lowering of their purchasing power,” Jagan wrote in his letter to the Prime Minister. While trains would not operate till May 3, the state has sought opening of national highways for its trucks to move goods to other states.
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