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AP Govt Gets One Day Break to Release Welfare Funds!

In a surprising twist, the Andhra Pradesh High Court has given the green light to the AP Government for the disbursement of welfare scheme funds within a tight window of just one day. This decision temporarily lifts the previous stay by the Election Commission (EC), which had paused the fund releases from May 11 to May 13 due to the upcoming elections. Beneficiaries of various schemes like input subsidies, educational grants, Cheyutha, Asara, and EBC Nestham were slated to receive funds, which can now be distributed by midnight of Friday. However, the court has strictly instructed that these disbursements should not be publicized in the media and must comply with the EC’s code of conduct.

The EC had initially frozen the distribution of ₹14,165 crore intended for these welfare schemes until after the polling on May 13. Several petitions challenging this decision were heard in the High Court on Thursday. The lawyer representing the EC argued that distributing such a large sum of money just before the elections could influence the electoral process, ensuring fairness and equality among candidates by postponing the fund release. In response, beneficiaries argued there was no need to halt the ongoing scheme payouts under the election code, as these were already scheduled before the code's enforcement.

The government now has a brief period to process these transactions, a critical development as the region prepares to go to the polls. This decision underscores the ongoing tension between ensuring electoral integrity and meeting the immediate needs of the populace, especially in designated drought areas and among impacted farmers who were identified six months ago.