Special Correspondent

130 districts afresh in the country under the NREGP

HYDERABAD: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy welcomed the emphasis laid on the agriculture sector in the Union budget by Finance Minister P. Chidambaram on Wednesday saying Andhra Pradesh would stand to benefit a lot by the thrust.

Addressing a press conference here, he said another welcome sign was the additional share of the State in the Central taxes. The State Budget envisaged only Rs.9,170 crore from devolution of funds from the Central taxes, but it had now come to its notice that Rs.1,380 crore would be the additional benefit.

Analysing the budget announcements, the Chief Minister said inclusion of 130 districts afresh in the country under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme (NREGP) meant the State would now be able to get more districts included under this programme. At present 13 districts were included and proposals had already been sent to enlist all other districts except Hyderabad.

Increase in the post-matric scholarships for SCs, STs and minorities was in tune with the State Government policy and bringing small towns under the JNNURM (Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission) would also be beneficial to the State.

Increased allocation for the Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme meant additional resources to the State to the tune of Rs.180 crores at least this year, he said.

Finance Minister K. Rosaiah said as Andhra Pradesh was an agri-based economy, the indicators in the budget were complementary to its growth.