Yogi Adityanath-led Uttar Pradesh government on Friday presented a massive Rs 4,28,384.52-crore budget for 2018-19 in the state Assembly, which is touted to be the biggest-ever Budget for state. The state's budgetary allocation for the next financial year exceeded by 11.4 percent the last year's Rs 3,84,659.71 crore Budget, which also had a special allocation of Rs 36,000 crore to honour the BJP government's poll promise of farm loan waiver.
The fiscal deficit pegged by the Budget stands at Rs 44,053.32 crore.
Speaking to the press, Adityanath called it a Budget of fiscal prudence, stating that it struck a balance between growth and maintaining financial discipline in the already debt-ridden state.
वित्तीय अनुशासन को बनाए रखते हुए प्रदेश के किसानों, नौजवानों, महिलाओं और गांवों को ध्यान में रख कर समग्र रूप से बहुत अच्छा बजट है। वित्त मंत्री श्री राजेश अग्रवाल जी व उनकी टीम को बजट पेश करने के लिए हृदय से बधाई। #UPBudget2018
— Yogi Adityanath (@myogiadityanath) February 16, 2018
Encompassing a range of new schemes — with budgetary allocations to the tune of Rs Rs 14,341.89 crore — were also announced, giving clear indications that the Budget math of the politically important state was done keeping in mind the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections. Uttar Pradesh sends 85 members to Lok Sabha, the highest from any state, and the BJP was able to sweep 71 seats out of these in the 2014 general elections.
As expected, the Budget also made room for promoting a host of religious activities, including allocation of Rs 10 crore for organising Holi in Mathura-Vrindavan and Diwali in Ayodhya, and Rs 94.26 crore for construction of Kailash Mansoravar Bhawan in Ghaziabad for pilgrims. Another Rs 1,500 crore has been kept for organising Kumbh Mela-2019 in Allahabad while Rs 98.50 crore have been allocated for setting up shelters for stray animals, especially cows.
Here are the key highlights from the state's budget:
Farmers and Agriculture sector
Facing farm crisis, the Uttar Pradesh government loosened its purse strings for hail-hit farmers. Finance Minister Rajesh Agarwal announced that the government earmarked Rs 100 crore for providing fertilisers to farmers, along with another Rs 200 crore set aside for subsidised farm loan. The government also allotted Rs 614 crore for development of dairy and poultry farmers. The government also set aside funds for the computerisation of primary agricultural co-operative societies. The government also focused on various irrigation projects across the state, including Rs 1,701 crore for Madhya Ganga Neher Pariyojna. Moreover, 5500 new centres will be opened to buy wheat from farmers and 20 new agriculture centres will be opened across the state.
For elementary education department, Rs 18,167 crore has been earmarked for Sarv Siksha Abhiyan, Rs 480 crore for middle-level education schemes and Rs 167 crore for national higher education programme.
The government allocated Rs 76 crore and Rs 40 crore respectively for providing free books and uniforms for all students of class 1-8th. For mid-day meal Rs 2,048 crore and Rs 167 crore for distributing fruits to students have been allocated in the Budget. The government earmarked Rs 500 crore for furniture, potable water and boundary walls of schools run by the elementary education department.
The government also set aside Rs 26 crore for setting up Pandit Deendayal Model Schools and another Rs 21 crore for Ahilyabai free education scheme. The state finance minister also said that the government would spend Rs 440 crore on the modernisation of madrassas.
Youth and employment opportunities
The finance minister said that the government's special focus was on skill development and creating employment opportunities for the state's youth. He claimed that ease of doing business was implemented by 20 departments, adding e-tendering and e-filing for all forms have started in the secretariat. The government also set aside Rs 250 crore for start-up funds and Rs 10 crore for Deendayal Gramodyog funds. The state government will also promote Handloom, power loom, silk, textile and garment industries with a budgetary allocation of Rs 50 crore.
Apart from this, some funds have also been set aside for development of sports. The government announced Rs 74 crore for development and setting up of sports colleges and stadiums.
10 New smart cities
A total of Rs 1,650 crore have been allocated for developing 10 new smart cities in the state. This would include the multifaceted development of Lucknow, Kanpur, Agra, Varanasi, Allahabad, Aligarh, Jhansi, Moradabad, Bareilly and Saharanpur districts.
Boost to infrastructure
The Budget earmarks Rs 650 crore for Bundelkhand expressway project, Rs 550 crore Gorkahpur link expressway project, Rs 1,000 crore for Purvanchal expressway, Rs 500 crore Agra-Lucknow expressway.
Budgetary provisions of Rs 30 crore have been made for e-office system in all government offices and a start-up fund of Rs 250 crore has been created.
For the power sector schemes, Rs 29,883 crore has been allocated.
With inputs from agencies
Updated Date: Feb 16, 2018 16:36 PM