Andhra Cabinet approves power subsidy for farmers, formation of state development council
Andhra Pradesh government has decided to ban online sports gambling by making necessary amendments to the State Gaming Act, 1974. Information and public relations minister Perni Venkataramaiah told reporters on Thursday that a final decision was taken in this regard during a meeting of the state Cabinet.
Once the changes are made, anyone convicted of organising online sports gambling can be awarded a jail term of up to one year along with a fine in the case of first-time offenders. Subsequent offences will attract jail terms of two years along with an increased fine. Those found indulging in online sports gambling will be awarded a jail term of six months as per the proposed law.
In addition, the Andhra Pradesh Cabinet also gave its nod to a scheme for providing free power for farmers through direct cash transfers.
Chief Minister YS Jaganmohan Reddy had directed his ministers to ensure that no burden falls on the state’s farmers, Venkataramaiah said during the press briefing on Thursday. As part of this initiative, the state government will transfer the amount corresponding to power usage to each farmer’s bank account. This will allow the farmers to pay their power bills by using this money.
This will also ensure that farmers continue to pay for their power bills and Discoms do not go into the red.
Instructions will also be issued to Discoms asking them to regularize nine-hour power supply while bearing the cost of smart meters along with the state. Measures will also be taken to ensure that no power connections are terminated. The pilot project will first be implemented in Srikakulam and will be extended across the state starting in April 2021.
Andhra Pradesh government is also planning to develop a 10,000 MW solar power plant to support this initiative.
The state government will also open dedicated bank accounts solely for this power subsidy for farmers in addition to spending Rs 1,700 crore for strengthening electricity feeders.
The state will allocate Rs 8,300 crore towards this scheme each year.
State minister Venkataramaiah claimed that only 40 per cent of the feeders were working during the time of the previous Telugu Desam Party (TDP) government in Andhra Pradesh. “We have brought it to 89 per cent and the remaining gap will be filled by this Rabi. So far, there are 18 lakh connections in the state and all connections owned by farmers will be regularised,” Venkataramaiah added.
The Andhra Cabinet during its meeting on Thursday also decided to create divisional development officer posts to ensure better functioning of the village secretariats.
The Cabinet also gave in-principle approval for the construction of two barrages downstream to Prakasam barrage, each with a holding capacity of 3TMC. The first one will be constructed between Penamaluru and Mangalagiri costing Rs 1,215 crore and the second between Mopidevi and Repalle at a cost of Rs 1,273 crore. The cabinet approved various irrigation projects, including Babu Jagjivan Ram Uttharandhra Sujala Sravanthi for irrigating 8 lakh acres in the north Andhra region at an estimated cost of Rs 15,389.80 crore, the minister said.
Approval for the construction of Varikapudisila lift irrigation project in Palanadu region, expected to cost the state Rs 1,273 crore, was also given on Thursday. As part of Rayalaseema drought mitigation project, the cabinet approved the development of 14 reservoirs and lift irrigation projects.
In order to boost aquaculture, the state will start Fisheries University in West Godavari district in the next five years. A sum of Rs 300 crores has been allocated for the same, Venkataramaiah said adding that medical colleges will also be set up in Bapatla (51.07 acres) and Markapuram (41.97 acres).
Further, the cabinet approved GO MS 80 for the establishment of AP State Development Corporation for planning and funding sate government’s welfare schemes like Nadu-Nedu, Cheyutha, Aasara, Rythu Bharosa.
The state has extended the ban on Maoist Party and its frontal organizations by another year.