The Andhra Pradesh government on Tuesday presented its Budget, with a proposed expenditure of Rs 2,24,789.18 crore. "The 2020-21 Budget estimates entail an overall decrease of 1.4% over the 2019-20 budget estimates on account of major economic slowdown during the COVID-19 pandemic," Finance Minister Buggana Rajendranath told the Assembly.
The revenue expenditure is estimated at Rs 1.8 lakh crore while capital expenditure including loan repayments, is estimated at around Rs 44 thousand crore. The estimated Revenue Deficit is around Rs 18 thousand crore and the Fiscal Deficit is estimated at around Rs. 48 thousand crore, the Finance Minister added.
"When our government assumed office in June 2019, we had many challenges to tackle, many hurdles to clear and many rough waters to negotiate. In 2019, we inherited a state economy which had been slowing down. From the point of view of financial management, the tsunami of pending bills to the tune of Rs 60,000 crore left by the previous government only made matters worse," Rajendranath said.
"Having identified the challenges, our government is devoting energy towards meaningful solutions. It was vital that we immediately set out a long-term strategic plan to secure Andhra Pradeshâ€™s future," he added.
Here are the provisions made to some of the important sectors.
For the 'Jagananna Amma Vodi', which provides financial assistance to each mother or guardian below the poverty line and the 'Nadu Nedu' scheme, which seeks to improve the infrastructure at schools, Rs 3,000 crore has been allocated for the year.
Schemes like Jagananna Vidya Kanuka, where school kits are distributed to students, and Jagananna Gorumudda (mid-day meal scheme) will also continue, the state government said.
The Finance Minister proposed an overall allocation of Rs 22,604 crore towards Secondary and Intermediate Education for 2020-21 besides an allocation of Rs 2,277 crore for Higher Education for the year.
Detailing schemes taken up by the government like the 'Aarogyasri', aims at providing universal health coverage, the Finance Minister said that the state was also distributing 'Smart Health Cards' for people to avail medical help.
Highlighting 'Kanti Velugu' (an eye screening programme), the Finance Minister said that it had covered the preliminary screening of 69 lakh school children in first phase and secondary screening of 4.6 lakh identified children in the second phase.
"The third phase will benefit all people above 60 years. They will be provided with free spectacles and cataract surgeries will be performed for the needy patients. In further phases of Kanti Velugu the entire population of Andhra Pradesh will be covered. I propose an allocation of Rs 20 crore in 2020-21 for this programme," Rajendranath said.
The state plans to add 1,000 new vehicles to the '104' and '108' ambulance services for which Rs 470.29 crore was allocated.
For the health sector, an overall allocation of Rs 11,419.44 crore was proposed for 2020-21.
Rs 3,615.60 crore was allocated to the 'Dr YSR Rythu Bharosa - PM Kisan' scheme, which provides investment support to farmers. Another Rs 500 crore has been allocated to the state's 'Free Crop Insurance' scheme, besides Rs 1,100 crore for 'Vaddi Leni Runalu', where the government intends to provide interest subvention for crop loans amounting up to Rs 1 lakh.
"It is planned to establish Rythu Bharosa Kendras (RBKs) in all 11,158 village secretariats, which would play the role of agriculture input shops and farmer knowledge centres and provide services such as â€“ supply of multi brand quality inputs, display information on Minimum Support Price (MSP), technical guidance, enrolment for crop insurance, hiring of farm implements, testing of soil and seed, guidance on bank credit, dissemination of best practices," Rajendranath said.
For the scheme, an allocation of Rs 100 crore was made.
In total, an allocation of Rs 11,891.20 crore was proposed for the Agriculture sector.
Womenâ€™s empowerment and child welfare
Highlighting the 'YSR Sampurna Poshana' scheme, which aims to cover 3.18 lakh children and 0.66 lakh pregnant and lactating mothers in 77 Scheduled areas, an allocation of Rs 1,500 crore was proposed.
In total, an allocation of Rs 3,456 crore was proposed for the Women, Children, Differently Abled and Senior Citizens Department.
"The government of Andhra Pradesh has taken special steps for enhancing womenâ€™s safety and security by enacting the stringent AP Disha Act, 2019. Amendments in the Indian Penal Code and Criminal Procedure Code have been made for ensuring completion of investigation and trial within 21 working days and for providing death penalty in cases of sexual offences against women and children," Rajendranath said.
Rural and urban development
The Finance Minister proposed a total allocation of Rs 16,710.38 crore for the Panchayat Raj and Rural Development Sector. He said that the state government will construct Rythu Bharosa Kendras apart from health clinics, for grassroot level governance.
On the other hand, the Budget Estimate for 2020-21 for Municipal Administration and Urban Development stands at Rs 8,150.24 crore.
The Finance Minister said that the state government will prioritise provision of drinking water to all urban local bodies (ULBs), and is working on projects related to water supply, building of underground drainage networks and sewerage treatment plants, with funds from the Asian Infrastructure Investment bank (AIIB), and Housing and Urban Development Corporation (HUDCO), under Central government schemes like AMRUT (Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation) and UIDSSMT (Urban Infrastructure Development Scheme for Small and Medium Towns).
The Budget Estimate for the Water Resources department for the coming year is Rs 11,805.74 crore. The Finance Minister mentioned various projects like the Godavari-Penna linkage and the Varikaselapudi Lift Irrigation Scheme in the Palnadu region, the Jagjivan Ram Uttarandhra Sujala Sravanthi and Vamsadhara-Nagavali Link Project in North Coastal Andhra Pradesh.
He also said that the government will prioritise work on the Galeru Nagari Sujala Sravanthi Project, the Gandikota Reservoir, Handri Neeva Sujala Sravanthi Project and the Chintalapudi Lift Irrigation Scheme.
The Industries and Commerce Department received a total allocation of Rs 2,705.14 crore. Speaking about nurturing the growth of MSMEs, Buggana Rajendranath said that under the package of relief measures called RESTART, which includes release of pending incentives worth Rs 904.89 crore to 11,238 MSME manufacturing and allied units in two phases, apart from a waiver on charges against contracted maximum demand from April to June 2020, working capital loans and preferential market access.
Rs 250 crore has been allocated towards the Kadapa Steel Plant, while Rs 735.38 crore have been allocated towards industrial incentives. Allocations of Rs 185.42 crore towards incentives for industrial promotion, and Rs 180.77 crore towards the APIIC (Andhra Pradesh Industrial Infrastructure Corporation) have also been proposed.
Before the Budget was presented, Governor Biswa Bhusan Harichandan, in a virtual address to the House, said that the state had registered an economic growth rate of 8.16% in 2019-20, compared to the national average of 5%.
"Services sector registered the highest growth rate of 9.1%, followed by agriculture and allied sectors at 8% and industry at 5%. The per capita income, measured at current prices, increased by more than 12% from Rs 1,51,173 in 2018-19 to Rs 1,69,519 in 2019-20," the Governor said in his speech.
He also said that the state has taken effective steps in containing the spread of COVID-19 and it stands ahead of other states in the number of tests conducted so far.