Treading the path of Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister K. Rosaiah presented a Rs. 1.13 lakh crore budget for 2010-11 in which he assigned high priority to welfare and enforced cuts into certain sectors of development. He neither proposed fresh taxes nor increased the existing ones while presenting the budget, the 16th in his career and first as Chief Minister.
The budget outlay is Rs. 8,516 crore higher than that of the current fiscal (Rs. 1.05 lakh crore). This hike is of little significance since it will be neutralised by inflation. Over 60 per cent of the revenues for the budget are expected to be raised from the State’s own resources and the balance contributed by the Centre in the form of tax-sharing and grants. An important announcement was the revival of the Constituency Development Fund with allotment of Rs. one crore each to members of the Assembly and the Legislative Council.
The budget comprises plan outlay of Rs. 40,313 crore (including money for Centrally-sponsored schemes) and non-plan outlay of Rs. 73,347 crore. Plan funds, meant for creating capital assets, have been reduced by Rs. 1,579 crore (from Rs. 41,892 crore in 2009-10). On the other hand, non-plan expenditure, has been hiked by a whopping sum Rs. 10,095 crore because of the higher wage bill of the employees and higher subsidies to the poor.
Mr. Rosaiah walked into the House with a suitcase in hand and read out the 29-page text in 70 minutes. Congress members thumped desks when he recalled the contribution of Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy in the areas of welfare and development and listed out schemes such as Arogyasri and subsidies to farmers while Telugu Deam members pooh-poohed them.
Referring to the “trials and tribulations” the State was undergoing in the wake of the agitations for and against Telangana statehood, Mr. Rosaiah said that but for these developments, the growth rate of Andhra Pradesh would have been excellent despite global slowdown. He appealed to everyone to ensure peace as this was the least an investor would expect. “Sink your differences and join hands with the government to place the State back on track and achieve a 7 per cent growth rate.” He justified the weightage given to welfare saying that the wealth created would have to be distributed to the less fortunate. All welfare schemes and subsidies would be continued and pensions paid to AIDS patients.
The overall outgo for the weaker sections is more than Rs. 20,000 crore, including direct allocations to each section, the massive scholarship/tuition fee reimbursement benefit and subsidies under various schemes such as Indiramma and rice scheme. For the first time, a sum of Rs. 300 crore was provided for scholarships to upper caste students.