With just Rs 500 crore allotted for the development of Andhra Pradesh’s capital city, the state's budget for the year 2019-20 presented by Andhra Finance Minister B Rajendranath Reddy on Friday, favours farmers and is loaded with welfare schemes. The YSRCPs welfare-oriented maiden budget outlays an amount of Rs 2,27,974 crore, of which Rs 28,866 crore has been allocated for the agriculture sector. The budget keeps in line with the YSRCPs 'Navaratnalu' poll promise, which focuses on agriculture and social welfare.
Speaking on the floor of the Assembly while presenting the budget, B Rajendranath Reddy, the finance minister said, “This government would like to see the state free from deprivation by 2022...while making extremely hard choices between wealth creation and welfare programmes, the government tried to balance both with a bias towards welfare. Our conscience and choices are crystal clear.”
The revenue expenditure of Andhra Pradesh has been estimated at Rs 1,80,475.94 crore and capital expenditure at Rs 32,293 crore, while the principal repayment of public debt is kept at Rs 8,994 crore.
The revenue deficit is calculated at Rs 1,777.52 crore or 3.30% of the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP), less than the 2018-19 figure of 3.62%. There was no mention of state tax and non-tax revenue in the budget presentation.
In the 2018-19 state budget, the TDP government had estimated revenue of Rs 1,55,507 crore but after revision, the revenue fell by Rs 40,823 crore. In the 2019-20 budget, the YSRCP-led state government hopes to generate Rs 1,78,697 crore.
The minister said the YSRCP government has inherited the ‘worst financial position’ and blamed previous Telugu Desam Party (TDP) government for this situation.
The Finance Minister has allocated Rs 250 crore for the steel plant at Kadapa. Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy will lay the foundation stone for the plant this year to fulfil the long-pending demand of the Rayalseema region. B Rajendranath said the government is committed to complete the Polavaram project by June 2021 by according it highest priority and providing it sufficient budget.
The government allocated Rs 1,150 crore to help the 11.5 lakh victims of the Agrigold scandal in the state. The Agrigold Group of companies had collected deposits from the public by offering high interest rates.
The Finance Minister allocated Rs 1,163 crore for YSR Crop Insurance Scheme to pay the current share of farmers' crop insurance, relieving them of any burden when it comes to crop insurance. This will benefit 60.02 lakh farmers.
The budget has allocated Rs 8,750 crore for YSR Rythu Bharosa (farmers income support) scheme, under which every farmer will be provided investment support of Rs 12,500 every year. The scheme will benefit 64.06 lakh farmers, including 15.36 lakh tenant farmers.
As part of Rythu Bharosa, the government has promised to drill bore wells free of cost and a provision of Rs 200 crore has been proposed in the budget. The YSR interest-free loan scheme was allocated Rs 100 crore and the next round of funding for the scheme is expected next year. An agriculture price stabilisation fund of Rs 3,000 crore has also been earmarked in the budget.
Under Jagananna Ammavodi scheme, the government will provide Rs 15,000 to every mother who sends her children to school or junior college (Classes 1 to 12). A budget allocation of Rs 6,455 crore has been proposed for the scheme which will benefit around 43 lakh women and improve all the parameters relating to education.
A provision of Rs 4,962 crore has been made for 100 per cent fee reimbursement to the post-metric students belonging to various categories. For the development of infrastructure at all state government schools, an allocation of Rs 1,500 crore has been made.
Andhra Finance Minister announced that Arogyasri, the free health insurance scheme for the poor, will be expanded to cover all the households with an annual income of less than Rs 5 lakh per annum, including all cases where the medical expenses cross Rs 1,000 and without any limit on the cost of treatment. All types of ailments and surgeries will be covered under Arogyasri. He has proposed to allocate Rs 1,740 crore for this scheme.
The YSR Gruha Vasathi housing scheme has been allocated Rs 5,000 crore. Pension to single women has been earmarked as Rs 300 crore, while for the aged and widowed, it has been kept at Rs 12,801 crore.
For the Kapu community, a major vote bank, the YSRCP has allocated Rs 2,000 crore. For BC and SC welfare, the state has earmarked Rs 30,000 crore in total.
The state government also hopes to attract investments worth over Rs 14,300 crore and Rs 3.6 crore has been allocated for Amaravati Metro Rail.
The Vizag-Chennai Industrial Corridor has been allocated Rs 200 crore, while for the development of Amaravati, the YSRCP allocated Rs 500 crore. In the previous two budget sessions, the TDP government had allocated Rs 690 crore and Rs 1,061 crore, respectively.
Stating that liquor consumption is a social evil and is severely damaging the social fabric, Rajendranath said that as a first step towards imposing prohibition, the government has started taking stringent action against licensed liquor shops that have received extended liquor licences. In the next phase, the government will take control of the sale and consumption of liquor.