Navaratnalu, welfare get the lion’s share of YSRCP’s maiden budget

Jagan Mohan Reddy  

In its first-ever budget, the YSRCP Government has focussed largely on its election manifesto’s Navaratnalu — the nine welfare schemes covering farmers, women, medical and health, education and Special Category Status (SCS).

However, the maiden budget is nearly silent on many growth engines, industry and service sectors. Though it rued, and alluded to a caveat that it has inherited the “worst financial positions from the previous government,” it has not spelt a road map to improve the health of the State’s finances.

Biting the bullet

Presenting the budget for the financial year 2019-20 in the Legislative Assembly on Friday, Finance Minister Buggana Rajendranath Reddy said the government was compelled to make “some hard choices” between wealth creation and welfare programmes as the resource gap was more than ₹45,000 crore. The government tried to balance both, albeit with a welfare bias. “It is in this spirit, the government, faced with a choice, has decided to provide better nutrition to mother and child rather than providing viability gap funding to international flights to Singapore,” he said.

Highlighting the precarious financial condition being faced by the State, the Minister underscored the need for according the SCS to Andhra Pradesh which has the potential to be one of the leading States by 2022 (the year simultaneous elections are proposed). “In our great nation, parents never renege on their promises to children, while the reverse may be true. Parliament has given us birth and we appeal earnestly to grant us Special Category Status as per its assurance.”

www: welfare, welfare, welfare

The government also named a slew of schemes after former Chief Minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy (YSR) and a couple of schemes in the name of Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy. Of the total outlay of ₹2,27,974.99 crore, more than ₹73,000 crore has been allotted to important major and new schemes, including YSR Rythu Bharosa (₹8,750 crore), Jagananna Amma Vodi (₹6,455 crore), mid-day meal scheme (₹1,077 crore), YSR Arogyasri (₹1,740 crore), YSR Gruha Vasathi (₹8,615 crore), YSR Pension Kaanuka, YSR Kalyana Kaanuka (₹716 corre), subsidy on rice, village volunteers, Agrigold victims, interest-free loans to SHGs (₹1,788 crore) YSR Bhima.

Also, ₹1,832 crore was allotted to the APSRTC in tune with its electoral promise of merging the RTC with the government. But, there was no mention of tourism, which was considered as growth engine by the previous government.

Capital and industry ignored

The government allocated ₹500 crore for the construction of Capital city Amaravati, which has been a big question before the people ever since the YSRCP came to power. Except for allocation of ₹250 crore for Kadapa Steel Plant, it did not unveil its plans for the industry sector. A little over ₹1,500 crore, including for the Kadapa Steel Plant, was allocated for industrial promotion in the State.

Proposing an allocation of ₹13,139 crore for irrigation projects, the government re-introduced Jalayagnam— a scheme launched by YSR in the combined Andhra Pradesh. In order to make YSR’s dream come true, this government is committed to complete Polavaram by June 2021, the Minister said.

Though the Minister in his initial remarks hinted at bringing waters for Godavari river to Srisailam (a plan proposed by the Telangana government to provide water to Rayalaseema and stabilise the Krishna ayacut), there were no details about allocations for the same.

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Printable version | Jul 26, 2021 3:23:03 AM |

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