Andhra Pradesh

Govt. move to pool funds for ‘Navaratnalu’ scheme

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It plans to rename Smart AP Foundation as ‘Connect to Andhra’

The State government is contemplating rechristening Smart AP Foundation as ‘Connect to Andhra’ for the purpose of pooling up funds from philanthropists and corporates for its flagship programme ‘Navaratnalu’. The government plans to tap the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) funds of various corporates apart from donations from philanthropists.

The previous government launched Smart Andhra Foundation as a society under Andhra Pradesh Societies Registration Act, 2001, in January 2016. All projects hitherto taken up under Smart Andhra Pradesh Foundation, by the previous Telugu Desam Party government, along with the resources will be merged with the proposed company.

Alternatively, the government is also looking at another option of setting up Connect to Andhra for resource mobilisation under ‘Section 8 Company’, under the Companies Act, 2013. Section 8 Company is intended for the promotion of commerce, art, science, sports, education, research, social welfare, religion, charity, protection of environment or any such other objective, sources say.

Nodal agency

The government created a Social Responsibility Wing in the State Planning Department as the nodal agency to mobilise funds for the government’s flagship welfare programmes. In 2018-19 financial year, various companies and organisations spent ₹62.59 crore on various projects under the CSR schemes.

The government received another ₹13.3 crore for implementation of the CSR schemes. Besides CSR grants from business houses, the government is now targeting to secure ‘philanthropic funds’ from ‘high net-worth individuals’ like industrialists, public representatives and actors and also ‘social impact investments’ from organisations like Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Michael and Susan Dell Foundation and also non-governmental organisations. The government is targeting to raise at least ₹1,000 crore through contributions under Connect to Andhra during the current fiscal, sources say.

According to information, the impact of the government’s policy proposals, including welfare schemes and ban on liquor in a phased manner, will be around ₹3.57 lakh crore for the five years from the current fiscal 2019-20. The average annual impact will be around ₹75,305 crore. The government requires about ₹30,000 crore annually to implement the welfare schemes such as YSR Rythu Bharosa (financial assistance to farmers), YSR Vahana Mitra (an annual cash incentive of ₹10,000 to drivers of autos) and Amma Vodi (₹15,000 to mothers for sending their children to school). Social security pensions, an annual monetary grant for junior lawyers, fee reimbursement for students, housing for the poor etc are some of the other schemes.

New programmes

The government will launch a slew of programmes, including ‘Nadu- Nedu’ (Our school now and then) this month. The donations received will be used for such programmes, sources say.

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Printable version | Dec 16, 2019 6:30:18 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/govt-move-to-pool-funds-for-navaratnalu/article29872224.ece

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