Finance Minister Buggana Rajendranath in Assembly
Finance Minister Buggana Rajendranath in Assembly

AP budget: Health allocation increased, gender and child budget introduced

State Finance Minister Buggana Rajendranath said that the government has spent Rs 2,246.18 crore on multiple interventions for prevention, mitigation and management of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Andhra Pradesh government has increased its budget on health by 21.11% by allocating Rs 13,830.44 crore in the 2021-22 Budget for Health, Medical and Family Welfare. The state budgeted Rs 11,419.48 crore in 2020-21, and the revised estimates showed that Andhra spent Rs 9,426.53 crore. Based on the budget estimate for 2021-22, Andhra has allocated 6% of its total budget to health and medical for 2021-22. 

The announcement was part of a one-day Budget session held on Thursday. The YSRCP government's Budget for 2021-22 allocates funds for its welfare schemes. The state's Finance Minister Buggana Rajendranath, in his Budget speech on the floor of the Assembly, said that the government has spent Rs 2,246.18 crore on multiple interventions for prevention, mitigation and management of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The minister said that in 2020-21, the state spent on the establishment of labs, testing equipment, procurement of medicines, PPEs, ventilators, TruNat machines and chips, installation of oxygen pipelines, procurement of vaccines etc. He said the state intends to prioritise the implementation of the ‘Nadu-Nedu’ programme to improve public healthcare and health infrastructure. An allocation of Rs 1,538.55 crore has been proposed for this scheme will be used for building new infrastructure besides upgrading existing infrastructure. The Budget also announced that 16 new medical colleges will be built and existing medical colleges and teaching hospitals will be upgraded. 

The state also has a Gender Budget and a Children Budget with a total budget outlay of Rs 16,748.47 crore for the development of children and Rs 47,283.21 crore for the development of women. “The Government has realised the need for a mechanism to identify & assess allocations earmarked towards women & children in the annual budget to facilitate the understanding & highlighting of the magnitude of such allocations, ring fencing the allocations in subsequent budgets and facilitate tracking of expenditure, so that planned outcomes can be realised,” the Finance Minister said. 

The state has proposed Rs 24,624 crore towards ‘School and Intermediate Education’ and Rs 1,973.16 crore has been allocated for higher education.  Funding has been allocated for state schemes such as Jagananna Amma Vodi, Jagananna Vidya Deevana and Jagananna Vasathi Deevana that benefit students from economically weaker backgrounds. “These schemes provide universal access to higher education for students from financially weak families by providing full fee reimbursement and covering their food and hostel expenses,” said the Finance Minister. 

The state has allocated Rs 18,580.70 crore for the Panchayat Raj and Rural Development Department in 2021-22, up 11.2% from 2020-21’s spending. The state has allotted Rs 8,727.08 crore for the Municipal and Urban Development Department (MAUD) this year, which is 7.2% higher than the expenditure in 2020-21. 

A total of Rs 13,237.78 has been earmarked for the Department of Water Resources in 2021-22, which is 12.1% higher than 2020-21 allocations. However, while Rs 11,805.74 crore was allocated, revised estimates only showed Rs 5,238 crore. 

The Forest Department has been allocated Rs 806.47 crore. When it comes to industries and infrastructure, the state has proposed Rs 3,673.34 crore for industrial and infrastructure development in 2021-22. 

The government is also developing three greenfield airports — a no-frills Orvakal Greenfield Airport, Bhogapuram Greenfield International Airport and Dagadarthi Greenfield Airport. The Orvakal no-frills greenfield airport has already commenced commercial operations. Land acquisition for the other two airports are expected to be completed in 2021-22, the minister informed. 

In addition, Rs 7,594.06 crore has been proposed for Transport and Road Infrastructure and an outlay of Rs 6,637.24 crore was laid for the energy sector.

The Dr YSR Rythu Bharosa-PM KISAN scheme, a cash incentive scheme for land-owning farmers was allocated Rs 7,200 crore, while YSR Bima scheme which bears 100% of the premium cost to provide free insurance to 1.41 crore eligible poor families was allocated Rs 372 crore.

Stating that the government had already spent about Rs 33,500 crore on the welfare of 2.71 crore members of the BC community so far since coming to power in 2019, the Minister said that an amount of Rs 28,237.65 crore was allocated as part of the BC sub-plan in 2021-22. An amount of Rs 3,306 crore was proposed for the welfare of Kapu community under various schemes in 2021-22 while an amount of Rs 3,840.72 crore was proposed for the welfare of minority communities. The state has allocated Rs 5,661.57 crore for 'Housing and Infrastructure' in 2021-22. 

Revenue expenditure in FY 2020-21 was Rs 1,52,990 crore, and capital expenditure at Rs 18,797 crore. The revenue deficit for 2020-21 is around Rs 34,927 crore, whereas the fiscal deficit for the same period is around Rs 54,369 crore, which amounts to 3.54% and 5.51% of the GSDP respectively.

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