Harish presents 'welfare budget' with outlay of Rs 2.90 lakh cr
Deccan Chronicle.| L. Venkat Ram Reddy
The Budget projected the state to be revenue surplus to the tune of Rs 4,881 crore while the fiscal deficit would be Rs 38,234 crore
Finance Minister T. Harish Rao with Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao before presenting the annual Budget in State Legislative Assembly By Arrangement
Hyderabad: The last full Budget of the Chandrashekar Rao-led BRS government presented by finance minister T. Harish Rao in the Assembly on Monday, ahead of the December 2023 Assembly elections, placed a significant emphasis on welfare spending and infrastructure development with a total outlay of Rs 2,90,396 crore.
Existing welfare schemes such as Rythu Bandhu, Rythu Bima, power subsidy, rice subsidy, crop loan waiver, housing scheme received top priority. The government set aside Rs 17,700 crore for the implementation of Dalit Bandhu, and Rs 15,075 lakh crore for Rythu Bandhu. The budget increased allocations for Kalyana Lakshmi and Shaadi Mubarak from Rs 2,750 crore to Rs 3,210 crore, funding for fee reimbursement and scholarships for students wsa increased from Rs 4,690 crore to Rs 5,609 crore.
A total of Rs 2,500 crore was allotted to maintenance of roads belonging to the roads and buildings and Rs 2,000 crore for those with the Panchayat Raj roads.
The Budget allocated Rs 12,000 crore for a housing scheme for the poor under which the state government will extend Rs 3 lakh financial assistance to four lakh beneficiaries this year to construct houses to those who own plots.
In the tax-free and revenue surplus budget, revenue expenditure is projected at RS 2.11 lakh crore and capital expenditure, to create assets, at Rs 37,525 crore. The Budget projected the state to be revenue surplus to the tune of Rs 4,881 crore while the fiscal deficit would be Rs 38,234 crore.
Presenting the Budget, Harish Rao stated that the Telangana model of growth had won plaudits from across the country due to Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao's "humanistic approach," asserting that "whatever scheme the Chief Minister takes up is only meant for the welfare of people and not for any electoral gain."
During the eight-and-a-half year of the TRS (now BRS) government, Telangana had outperformed the rest of the country in terms of economic growth by ushering in a golden era in welfare programmes and setting an example for other states.
"People from other states are also demanding development on the lines of Telangana. Telangana will forge ahead and play an important role in nation building in the years to come. Along with the implementation of commitments made in the election manifesto, many schemes which find no mention in the manifesto, have also been introduced on humanitarian grounds," he stated.
The BRS administration, whose campaign slogan for the 2024 elections is "Ab Ki Baar Kisan Sarkar," has allocated Rs 6,385 crore for crop loan waiver with which crop loans of farmers up to Rs 90,000 will be waived. The state government, which had promised Rs 1 lakh crop loan waiver in the 2018 Assembly, polls waived crop loans up to Rs 25,000 in the first phase in 2019 and up to Rs 50,000 in second phase in 2020.
Further, the Budget allocated Rs 4,500 crore for the flagship sheep distribution scheme this year under which three lakh beneficiaries will be covered.
An additional Rs 1,000 crore has been sanctioned towards salaries for the newly-recruited personnel in the wake of state government issuing notifications to fill 80,000 posts this year. Further, the services of contract employees working in government numbering over 10,000 will be regularised with effect from April 1, 2023, and pay scales for the SERP employees will be implemented from the same date.
With regard to infrastructure development, Rs 2,500 crore has been allocated for maintenance of roads in urban areas by the roads and buildings department and Rs 2,072 crore was sanctioned for laying of new roads and another Rs 2,000 crore for roads in rural areas by the Panchayat Raj department.
For the first time, a special fund of Rs 500 crore was sanctioned to all the state-run universities to improve infrastructure facilities for students, especially hostel buildings. An additional Rs 300 crore was allocated for municipalities for infrastructure development, Rs 500 crore was sanctioned for Hyderabad Regional Ring Road (RRR), Rs 400 crore for the new Secretariat building, Rs 400 crore for road overbridges and road underbridges.