Finance Minister T. Harish Rao has claimed that the Telangana model of development which he says combines humanitarian approach, constructive thinking, futuristic planning and transparent administration is getting accolades both nationally and internationally.
The State, he said, has achieved significant development in just eight and a half years and has become a role model for the entire county in welfare and development.
Mr. Rao presented massive ₹2.9 lakh crore budget for the financial year 2023-24 in the State Assembly on Monday with heavy accent on welfare programmes that were being implemented since the TRS government took over the reins.
Though no new schemes were announced in the annual financial statement, Mr. Rao has some good news for local bodies, both urban and rural, which would forthwith receive direct cash transfers. Regularisation of contract employees would commence from April 1 while loan waiver will be implemented for farmers who obtained loans upto ₹90,000. The Government had quickened the process for recruitment of 80,039 posts announced in the past and an additional allocation of ₹1,000 crore was made in the budget towards salaries/wages of new employees.
The nearly two-hour speech, however, did not mention about the unemployment allowance or Girijan Bandhu scheme proposed on the lines of Dalit Bandhu. Interestingly, a budgetary provision of ₹17,700 crore was made for Dalit Bandhu, a scheme whose implementation was reportedly hit by the resource crunch faced by the Government due to restrictions imposed by the Union Finance Ministry.
He claimed that Telangana was among the best performing States in the country in terms of State’s Own Tax Revenues and that the budget focussed on striking a balance between welfare and development. Accordingly, a provision of ₹2,500 crore was made for Roads and Buildings department for maintenance of roads while the roads division of the Panchayat Raj department would be given ₹2,000 crore for renewal of BT roads in villages.
He recalled how the share of Telangana in the GDP improved from 4.1 per cent in 2014-15 to 4.9% in 2020-21 though the State share in national population was only 2.9%. Telangana stood third in the country among 18 major States with an average annual GSDP growth of 12.6% from 2015-16 to 2021-22. The per capita income grew from ₹1.12 lakh in 2013-14 to ₹3.17 lakh, 86% higher than the national per capita income of ₹1.7 lakh.
Several unique schemes like Rythu Bandhu, Rythu Bima, Rythu Vedikalu and others had been introduced for the welfare of the farmers with budgetary allocation of agriculture department during the next fiscal pegged at ₹26,831 crore. The Government was equally focussed on irrigation sector where schemes like Mission Bhagiratha and Mission Kakatiya, the latter a role model for Central Government’s Amrit Sarovar scheme, were operational. The Government had proposed an outlay of ₹26,885 crore for the sector in the next fiscal.
While power sector was allotted ₹12,727 crore, Civil Supplies department was given ₹3,117 crore for implementing rice subsidy schemes and the budgetary provision for Aasara pensions saw an increase to ₹12,000 crore. Budgetary provision of ₹36,750 crore had been made to scheduled caste special development fund and another ₹15,233 crore for special development fund of scheduled tribes while the BC welfare was given ₹6,229 crore.
Allocations for Kalyana Lakshmi and Shaadi Mubarak schemes had been increased by ₹460 crore to ₹3,210 crore and Women and Child Welfare department was given an allocation of ₹2,131 crore. Minorities welfare continues to be a focus area with an allocation of ₹2,200 crore and the Education department was given a major share of ₹19,093 crore.
Medical and Health department where several schemes were being implemented had been given an allocation of ₹12,161 crore and emphasis on Panchayat Raj department implementing the flagship Palle Pragati programme continued with an allocation of ₹31,426 crore. The Home department received budgetary allocation of ₹9,599 crore for the next fiscal and the Municipal Administration and Urban Development department ₹11,372 crore.