No new welfare plans for Andhra Pradesh in next fiscal

Government’s focus will only be on sustaining on-going schemes.

VIJAYAWADA: Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy is unlikely to announce any new welfare initiatives in the next fiscal even as he is determined to aggressively pursue monetisation of government lands for augmenting Andhra Pradesh’s revenues.

The Chief Minister, according to sources, has been convinced by his finance managers to restrain from piling additional burden on welfare, whose cost has almost touched Rs 45,000 crore in the current financial year. Focus will now be only on sustaining the on-going schemes.

The finance department is giving final touches to the state’s 2020–2021 budget, which will be introduced in the assembly in the next few days. Sources say the Chief Minister has given his nod to bring down the outlay to less than Rs 2 lakh crore as against current year’s outlay of Rs 2.25 lakh crore.

“For decades, successive governments have kept on increasing the budget fearing criticism from Opposition that spending is being compromised,” a senior official pointed out. But the Chief Minister has, however, decided to be realistic this time.

Income and expenditure trends available so far indicate that only about 60–65 per cent of the estimated revenue will be realised. This will automatically have a bea-ring on the 2020–21 budget outlay.

The estimated revenue in the first ever budget of the Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress Party (YSRCP) government for 2019–2020 was Rs 1.78 lakh crore. Of this, Rs 85,000 crore have been realised till end of January due to cut in devolution of funds and grants from the centre, besides a fall in the state’s own revenues.

Sources said the government is expecting that financial stress in the next fiscal will ease out. The present government has cleared half the arrears of Rs 40,000 crore passed on to it by the previous TD government.

“In addition, we lost about Rs 15,000 crore due to certain self- goals, whichwould not be repeated next year,” a senior official said, referring to developments like non-availability of sand for months together, which badly hit construction activity that resulted in a cascading effect on Andhra Pradesh’s economy.

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