Hyderabad: A leaked diplomatic cable
dispatched by the US Consul General in Chennai in 2007 had
nailed the then Congress government headed by Y S Rajasekhara
Reddy in Andhra Pradesh for "widespread corruption that was
beyond the pale" even for India.
“In the name of social programmes targeted at the common
man, the YSR government had engaged in corruption beyond the
norm for India”, Wikileaks said, quoting the cable.
The YSR government’s flagship programmes -- construction
of irrigation projects and houses for weaker sections -- were
beset with corruption even as Rajasekhara Reddy used the
populist spending programmes to great political effect, the
There is consensus in Andhra Pradesh that irrigation
and housing programmes are beset with corruption. On separate
visits to Hyderabad, we heard allegations of widespread graft
from several neutral observers.
An economist who studies the effectiveness of government
programmes in the state said with only four to five companies
executing the projects, there are many opportunities for graft
in the irrigation programme, the Consul General said in the
"Typically, five to seven percent is lost to corruption
but in Reddy`s irrigation programme, that figure is more like
fifteen to twenty percent," he said.
While the housing programme will cost four to six
billion dollars, the irrigation programme costs more than 11
billion dollars over five years on 26 major irrigation
projects, the US cable said.
Widespread corruption in the Congress government seems
to be an open secret in Andhra Pradesh but the political
impact is unclear, the Consul General said.
The Consul General said "many elites are disgusted by
the level of corruption in the Congress government. The sheer
size of Reddy`s signature programmes, with literally billions
of dollars at play every year, leaves much room for leakage to Congress party officials and their allies".
"But the size of the programmes also means that even
with a substantial percentage lost to corruption, a lot of
money still must be making its way to the common man", it