VIJAYAWADA: State Finance Minister Yanamala Ramakrishnudu presented an optimistic budget for 2018-19 on Thursday, amid the gloom with Central Government refusing special category status citing rules and regulations and also differing over the amount due to the State for bridging revenue deficit.
The budget proposed an expenditure of Rs 1,91,063.61 crore while the estimated revenue surplus is around Rs 5,235.24 crore, which is 0.60 percent of GSDP and fiscal deficit was estimated at around Rs 24,205.21 crore or 2.78 percent of the GSDP.
“The revenue surplus budget for the year 2018-19 has been proposed anticipating that the Government of India would release all the dues as per the AP Reorganisation Act, 2014 this year,” Yanamala said and added he optimized revenue expenditure and increased capital expenditure. Apparently, with an eye on elections which could be held later this year if advanced, stress was on welfare programmes. For the State’s flagship Polavaram project Rs 9,000 crore was allocated in the budget and Rs 16,978 for other water resource development projects.
Quoting the inspiring words of former President APJ Abdul Kalam — “Look at the sky. We are not alone. The whole universe is friendly to us and conspires only to give the best to those who dream and work” — Yanamala Ramakrishnudu, who presented his 10th overall and second consecutive budget at the Interim Assembly at Velagapudi, said under the effective leadership of Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, the state maintained a double-digit growth for the last three years averaging 10.96 perc ent as against 7.31 per cent of the Indian economy.
Stating that the government’s primary motto is people first, the finance minister said with a belief that providing for welfare would bring the much-needed inclusive and holistic thrust to the development initiatives of the government, a significant portion of the allocation for 2018-19 was made to various welfare measures.
The existing marriage assistance to brides from Scheduled Tribes and minorities would be extended to those from SCs and BCs under Chandranna Pelli Kanuka and the government made an allocation of Rs 100 crore each.
Similarly, a sum of Rs 2,165 crore has been allocated for pre and post-matric scholarships, reimbursement of tuition fees, NTR Vidyonnathi, NTR Videsi Vidya Adarna, hostels, residential schools and colleges and BC Study circles. This would benefit about 16 lakh students. An allocation of Rs 400 crore for Kapu community students and Rs 700 crore for EBC were proposed. Budgetary allocation for the welfare of BCs was hiked from Rs 3,316 crore to Rs 4,477 crore.