Hyderabad: Despite the Covid-induced financial crisis and cuts in Central grants, the Telangana state government is inching closer to meet its budgetary targets for the current fiscal.
Officials said the state government was successful in implementing the welfare schemes for the poor and needy without imposing any cuts, on the back of increased revenue earnings here for the past three months. Adequate funds were sanctioned for the TRS government's flagship schemes like Rythu Bandhu, Rythu Bima, 24x7 free power to agriculture, Rs 1 per kg rice scheme, the Aasara pensions, the Kalyana Lakshmi, the Shaadi Mubarak etc. Hence, "beneficiaries did not face any difficulty even during the corona crisis".
The government presented the annual budget for 2020-21 with an outlay of Rs 1.82 lakh crore in March 2020. But the outbreak of Covid-19 and the subsequent lockdown and economic slump meant the Budget estimates went haywire in the 2020-21 fiscal. However, the state could overcome the financial crisis by
improving its tax collections. This is witnessing an upward trend since December 2020, when it crossed the Rs 7,000 crore mark. The tax revenues had dipped to Rs 1,700 crore in April and Rs 3,682 crore in May due to the corona lockdown.
After lifting of the lockdown restrictions from May, the tax revenues witnessed a steady increase through successive months at the rate of Rs 6,500 crore per month on an average. However, the tax revenues crossed the Rs 7,000crore mark and reached close to the Rs 8,000 crore mark in December 2020 and January 2021 respectively — when they stood at Rs7,707crore and Rs7,812crore respectively.
Due to the corona-induced financial crisis, the state government has missed its budget targets by a wider margin in the current fiscal. As per the budget estimates, the state government earnings should have been Rs 1.76 lakh crore and expenditure Rs 1.60 lakh crore till January 2021-end. However, the government earnings stand at Rs 1.18 lakh crore and expenditure at Rs 1.10 lakh crore, according to the latest report released by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG).
With just a month to go for the current fiscal to end, the focus has now shifted to state government's upcoming budget for fiscal 21-22, likely to be presented in the Legislature in the second week of March.
Official sources say the budget estimates for 2021-22 will likely be in the range of Rs 1.60 lakh crore to Rs 1.80 lakh crore. Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao had cut the 2019-20 budget size by 20 per cent in September 2019, saying he wanted to opt for a “realistic budget”, taking into account the economic slowdown.
Rao presented a vote-on-account budget for 2019-20 in the Assembly in February 2019, just before the Lok Sabha polls in April 2019, with an outlay of Rs 1.82 lakh crore. However, he slashed the budget to Rs 1.46 lakh crore in September 2019 when he presented the full-fledged budget.