LUCKNOW: Calling it a budget for the poor, farmers, women and the unemployed, the Yogi Adityanath government on Tuesday presented its maiden budget pegging it at Rs 3.84 lakh crore for 2017-18, expanding the range by around 10.9 per cent (Rs 38,000 crore) as compared to the previous budget of Rs 3.46 lakh crore.
To redeem debts up to Rs 1 lakh of 86 lakh small and marginal farmers, the state government proceeded to fulfill its poll promise by making a provision of Rs 36,000 crore within the budget. It also allocated Rs 55,781 crore for initiating new schemes in the state.
“The provision for waiving off farmers’ loans can be managed by cutting down on other expenses. It was undoubtedly a challenge for us. We are not going to take any loan for the purpose and have successfully made the provision from resources we had within the budget without putting any extra burden on the public,” said Yogi Adityanath.
Reiterating his government’s resolve to develop the state, Yogi Adityanath said the budget was development-oriented and was formulated keeping the Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas agenda in mind with the government firm on fulfilling all promises made in its Lok Kalyan Sankalp Patra.
Projecting a growth rate of 10 per cent for the next five years, UP finance minister Rajesh Agarwal mentioned that the present dispensation had inherited empty coffers and how huge the challenge was to make provisions to fullfill their poll commitments.
A fiscal deficit of Rs. 42967.86 crore is estimated in 2017-18. It stands out to be 2.97 per cent of the gross state domestic product against 3.01 per cent in the previous budget.
As far as revenue generation is concerned, a target of Rs. 20593.23 crore is fixed as excise revenue, Rs. 17458.34 crore as stamp and registration and Rs. 5481.20 crore fixed for vehicle tax.
However, no major announcement was made to curb crime in the state. On the law and order front which is apparently one of the biggest challenges for the Yogi Adityanath government, the budget just spoke of targeted recruitment drives to recruit about 33,200 police personnel including, 30,000 constables and 3,200 sub-inspectors. It promised recruit 1.50 lakh police personnel in by 2022.
Flagging up a single window system to boost industrial investment, power-for-all and Make-in-UP as some key initiatives by the state, Rajesh Agarwal also announced that a new textile policy is on the anvil.
It needs to be seen how much the state government is able to support the textile industry, especially the handicraft cottage industry of Banarsi silk, zardozi and Lucknow chikan after GST was enforced.
On the lines of the ongoing metro project in Lucknow and the proposed ones in Kanpur, Varanasi, Agra and Gorakhpur, the state budget has a provision of Rs 288 crore and for augmentation and maintenance of roads Rs 598 crore have been allocated in the state budget.
The budget also speaks about the provision of Rs 200 crore for special schemes for Bundelkhand, Rs 300 crore for special ones for Poorvanchal and Rs 10 crore for Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya Kisan Samriddhi Yojna.
The Uttar Pradesh Assembly Budget session took off with a belligerent Opposition seeking a discussion on the law and order situation and disrupting Question Hour. Samajwadi Party leaders carried out protests against the ruling government for its alleged inability to bring law and order under control.
However, Yogi Adityanath led the house in condemning the Amarnath attack in Jammu and Kashmir on Monday night that killed seven people and injured over a dozen.
The house observed a two-minute silence before going ahead with the day’s proceedings. Commencing his budget speech, Finance Minister Rajesh Agarwal extended his gratitude to the people of state for the massive mandate to his party and repeated government’s commitment to come up to the expectations and hope the people had posed in the BJP.
Meanwhile, a few lighter moments were also witnessed when the Rajesh Agrawal who was reading out the budget speech sought the Speaker’s permission to sit down and read the rest. However, he could not complete it and handed it over to Parliamentary Affairs Minister Suresh Khanna.
However, the Opposition condemned the state budget saying it was devoid of the government’s will to work for the UP’s development. It was an anti-poor, anti-farmer budget which had ignored the backward classes and Dalits.
They called it a disappointing budget which did not match the extent of the people’s mandate which the BJP got in Assembly polls.