Finance and Legislative Affairs Minister Buggana Rajendranath Reddy alleged that the TDP government had entrusted a skill development project to Siemens Industrial Software Private Limited and some other namesake firms on nomination basis (without inviting tenders) and devoid of a DPR or even necessary certifications for a whopping ₹3,356 crore.
The then Cabinet had approved the project as a special item on its agenda by merely taking a note from the department concerned into account, in spite of the fact that the project was supposed to have large-scale foreign funding.
The seeds for this scandal were sown in just about three months after the TDP came to power in 2014, and government institutions, particularly the A.P. State Skill Development Corporation (APSSDC) which is responsible for conducting all skilling programmes in the State, were completely sidelined in implementing the scheme of upskilling the youth, as per a premeditated plan to benefit private companies whose track record was doubtful.
Siemens informed that it did not receive a single rupee, which was nothing but a damning indictment of the role played by those who called the shots during the TDP regime, the Finance Minister asserted.
Making a statement on the skill development scam which is being probed by the CID, and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) inquiring the matter, in the Legislative Assembly on Sunday, Mr. Rajendranath Reddy said the TDP government had deliberately relied on private players at the expense of APSSDC and other institutions.
In stark contrast, the Jagan Mohan Reddy government played the role of an ‘engine’ driving the private stakeholders, Mr. Rajendranath Reddy claimed. A thorough study of the skilling programmes was done by the present government in Germany, Switzerland and some other countries, he said.
Based on that, a pyramid with the AP Skill University (which is in advanced stages of design) at the pinnacle, Centres of Excellence (CoE) in the middle and skill hubs (in Assembly constituency headquarters) at the bottom was being created. So far, 21 CoEs and 192 skill hubs were set up at a cost of just ₹25 crore.
On the other hand, N. Chandrababu Naidu had planted his close confidantes, some of whom were retired and others ‘private persons’ in the APSSDC to steer the skilling programmes as per his wishes. The SEBI found that some shell companies were at the core of the multi-crore scandal which spread to a few foreign countries, he said.