The Andhra Pradesh government is happy that the Centre has treated it as a role model in respect of some schemes by including them in its budget presented in Parliament on Thursday.

Hailing the Central budget as one which will usher in an integrated development for the country and ensure welfare to all sections, Finance Minister Anam Ramanarayan Reddy said Andhra Pradesh was the first State to adopt a legislation to implement sub-plans for SCs and STs.

The Centre had emulated this example by specifically including these plans at national level in its budget with an allotment of Rs. 41,561 crore for SCs and Rs. 24,598 crore for STs.

While presenting the budget, Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram listed out the guidelines making it mandatory for banks to liberally allow loans to women, treading the path of AP which had set up a Streenidhi with Rs 1,000-crore corpus fund.

Referring to the criticism that the railway budget had ignored the State, he said, “It is impossible to satisfy all States and persons at a time.” If one State benefited this year, another would get the share the next year.

Asked about slashing of the Centre-sponsored welfare schemes from 173 to 73 under the budget, he said the number was minimised by way of synergy under Chaturvedi-recommended reforms and no scheme was scrapped.

Minister for Civil Supplies D. Sridhar Babu, speaking at Karimnagar, was all praise for the Union budget presented by Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram in Parliament.

In a press release here, he said that the budget had accorded importance to all sections of society. He said that the budget had allocated huge share for the Andhra Pradesh state under Pradhana Manthri Grameena Sadak Yojana. He also hailed construction of big port in Andhra Pradesh state.

He also hailed allocation of Rs 10,000 crore for the implementation of National Food security and the start of Women’s bank. He also welcomed the Nirbhaya fund for the protection of womenfolk in the country.

Opposition flays budget

The Telugu Desam has said that the Rs. 30,000-crore hike in planned expenditure as presented in the Union budget will lead to unproductive expenditure.

Reacting to the budget proposals, the TDP politburo member Y. Ramakrishnudu stated in a press release that the UPA government had exposed its inefficiency to control fiscal deficit even after imposing on public taxes running into thousands of crores of rupees.

The government raised the planned expenditure by only Rs. 30,000 crore which would increase unproductive expenditure. Though there were no direct taxes, the government increased indirect taxes in a big way. This would push the financial crisis into further danger, he said.

CPI (M) State secretary B.V. Raghavulu said the budget was full of contradictions and was deceptive in nature. It was aimed at benefitting the capitalists in the country and investors outside but against the interests of the poor and middle-class.

‘Populist measure’

Terming the budget a populist measure, CPI leaders said it was finalised with an eye on the 2014 elections. Allotment of a meagre Rs. 500 crore for construction of cold storages exposed the intention to invite further investments from multinationals such as Walmart. By allotting Rs. 2-lakh crore for defence, the government had opened doors for kickbacks in arms purchases, the party alleged.

The YSR Congress accused Mr. Chidambaram’s jugglery of figures to meet the Reserve Bank of India norm that 18 per cent of the total loans should be given to agriculture. There was no attempt to help distressed farmers.

The Lok Satta party president Jayaprakash Narayan said Mr. Chidambaram had let down the country by squandering a golden opportunity to pull the country out of economic mess. The crisis was worse than in 1991 in terms of fiscal and current account deficits.

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