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No fancy CEO tag for me: Reddy

May 15, 2004 17:47 IST

N Chandrababu Naidu liked to be called CEO, Andhra Pradesh, what would you like to be called, a reporter asked Dr Y S Rajasekhar Reddy at a press conference in Hyderabad on Saturday.

"I do not have any fancy for tags like CEO. In fact, I do not think governments should be run like business organisations with a profit motive. They should be welfare-oriented and work in the interests of the have-nots. I just want to be called chief minister," Andhra Pradesh's new CM said.

Would he have a deputy chief minister, another journalist asked.

"Is there anything wrong in it?" Dr Reddy responded. 

He said his ministry would take shape only next week after a new government, headed by the Congress, is sworn in at the Centre. 

The chief minister said he would talk to the Naxalites -- who have waged a war against the State from the jungles of Telengana and tried to assassinate Chandrababu Naidu near Tirupati last October -- and said he had asked the police to maintain "restraint." But he also asked the Maoists to shun violence. 

The ban on the outlawed Naxalite group, People's War Group, comes up for review in July, Dr Reddy said, adding that "POTA (Prevention of Terrorism Act) is coming in the way of lifting the ban on the PWG. This draconian act will be reviewed now that the Congress government is coming at the Centre. We want to solve this vexed problem (extremism)."

Dr Reddy declared that his government would not accept the conditionalities of the World Bank, the main source of external funding for the state during the Naidu government's tenure in office. 

"We will not bow to their (World Bank's) conditionalities. It is not as if only the World Bank gives loans. If there are going to be conditionalities, then we will approach other funding agencies for loans," Dr Reddy, whose first decision after being sworn in as chief minister, was to sanction free electricity for the state's farmers, said. 

The chief minister said his government would soon finalise a special compensation package for the families of farmers who had committed suicide (because they could not repay loans) and those who died in police firing in Hyderabad in 2000 during an agitation against the power tariff hike.

Unlike the Naidu government which backtracked on key election promises like the Rs 2 per kg rice scheme and total prohibition, the Congress government would continue the free power scheme as long as it is in power, Dr Reddy added.

But he allayed apprehensions over reforms being derailed in the state, saying all policies and programmes that benefited the people would be continued.     

Naidu's Telugu Desam Party government, which lost the assembly election on Tuesday, had secured massive loans from
the World Bank and other international funding agencies for economic restructuring and development of infrastructure,
power, roads, health and other sectors.

Last February the World Bank sanctioned a fresh Structural Adjustment Loan of Rs 1,200 crores (or Rs 12 billion) for the state. The Opposition parties had then criticised the Naidu government for pursuing 'World Bank dictated economic policies and bowing to its conditionalities.'


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