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All eyes on TS budget outlay for 2023-24

Budget session slated to start soon; proposals in excess of ₹3 lakh crore received from departments

January 22, 2023 07:15 pm | Updated January 26, 2023 10:08 am IST - HYDERABAD

File image used for representative purpose only.

File image used for representative purpose only. | Photo Credit: The Hindu

All eyes are on the total outlay of the Budget for the financial year 2023-24, as the notification for the Budget session of the Legislature was released on Saturday.

The government has reportedly received proposals in excess of ₹3 lakh crore from different departments during the pre-budget meetings convened by Finance Special Chief Secretary K. Ramakrishna Rao with individual departments last week. Departments like Irrigation, Education, Health, Roads & Buildings, Municipal Administration, Welfare and Panchayat Raj and Rural Development are understood to have requested adequate allocations in view of the ongoing schemes and development projects.

The Finance department officials are cautious in their response to the total outlay in the upcoming budget. “The outlay could be a little higher than the current year’s ₹2.56 lakh crore,” a senior official said without elaborating further on the issue.

Scepticism

There is a strong reason behind the scepticism as the State had faced a tough time to raise resources during the last few months thanks to the restrictions imposed by the Union Finance Ministry on loans and market borrowings citing financial management issues.

As against ₹52,167 crore open market borrowings projected in the budget for the current year, the government was allowed to raise ₹37,650 crore for the entire year, leaving a shortfall of around ₹ 15,000 crore. The quantum through grants in aid and contributions was projected at ₹41,001 crore of which a meagre ₹6,623 crore had been received till November, according to the provisional figures released by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India. This leaves a shortfall of close to ₹35,000 crore with just four months left for the financial year to end and little hope of the entire quantum being released by the short period.

With the Union Finance Ministry firm on not giving extra relaxations to the State for raising resources, the State had been struggling hard to mobilise funds for implementation of schemes such as Dalit Bandhu, Rythu Bandhu, payment of salaries or wages and pensions, among others. The interest on loans obtained by the government has been steadily on the rise with ₹16,010 crore in 2020-21, ₹18,688 crore (2021-22) and ₹13,257 crore paid till November-end during the current fiscal.

Given the shortage in funds, it is interesting to see how the government proposes the outlay for the next year, an election year, by striking a fine balance between development and welfare. Interestingly, Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao, who convened a meeting of senior officials on Saturday, is understood to have directed them to focus on avoiding leakages in tax collection and recovery of pending taxes in addition to exploring scope for mobilising additional revenue through sale of government land for fulfilling the government’s financial commitments.

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