LUCKNOW: Ayodhya, religious tourism and cow — all seem to have left a stamp on Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s third budget presented here on Thursday. While underlining the Saffron thrust, it also pointed to the political urgency ahead of the Lok Sabha polls this year.
Touted as biggest budget so far an outlay of Rs 4.79 lakh crore, including Rs 21,212 crore pledged to new populist schemes. “The projects delineated are not for votes, but for each one’s welfare,” the CM said at a media interface later. The budget noted that the per capita income of UP had climbed to Rs 55,456 in 2017-18 from Rs 50,092 in 2016-17.
There was political specificity to the budget in the election year, with Rs 447 crore allocated for construction of cow shelters, including Rs 200 crore under the Kanha cow shelter scheme for abandoned animals. The earlier cow cess imposed on revenue departments like excise, is estimated to rake in some Rs 165 crore annually to bolster the scheme.
The budget marked an aggressive emphasis on religious places with the Kashi Vishwanath Temple in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s constituency Varanasi being allocated Rs 207 crore for expansion and beautification, Rs 101 crore for Ayodhya site and Rs 27 crore each for development of infrastructure in Braj-Mathura and Garh Mukteshwar. Shrines in Mathura and Prayagraj are in for a facelift.