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Education, rural sector get thrust in AP budget, flags gender

Press Trust of India  |  Amaravati 

Education and rural development received a major thrust in the budget for 2017-18, presented in the today.

Minister also included a "gender budget" in the annual financial statement, seeking to ensure social and economic progress of women by ending discriminatory practices.

The budget proposed an expenditure of Rs 1,56,999 crore, marking an increase of about 15.70 per cent over the budget for 2016-17.

The Minister said a provision of Rs 500 crore had been made as "assistance" to unemployed youth, but left it unspecified whether it was the anticipated unemployment allowance for the year.

The budget made a provision of Rs 20,384 crore for general education and Rs 765 crore for technical education.

It set apart Rs 19,565 crore for rural development and Rs 12,770 crore for irrigation and flood control.

Welfare received a substantial allocation at Rs 11,361 crore while health care got Rs 7,020 crore. Agriculture and allied sectors got Rs 9,090 crore.

Moving of the state capital to Amaravati (from Hyderabad) and demonetisation put "tremendous stress" on the state's economy in 2016-17, the Minister said.

Shifting to GST regime from July 1, 2017 could negatively impact the growth of the state's resources in short term, Yanamala said in his budget speech.

The state government did away with the practice of the plan and non-plan classification in the budget,and, instead made it revenue and capital expenditures.

The Finance Minister called it a "significant structural reform".

"Not only it is a constitutional requirement but also one in tune with international best practice and an essential ingredient for policy formulation and efficient resource allocation," he noted.

A provision of Rs 1,25,912 crore has been made for revenue expenditure and Rs 31,087 crore for capital expenditure, including Rs 8,009 crore towards principal repayment of public debt.

The state's revenue deficit in 2017-18 is estimated to be around Rs 416 crore (0.05 per cent of Gross State Domestic Product) and fiscal deficit of Rs 23,054 crore (3.0 per cent).

The TDP Government also came out with a "gender budget" this time.

"The objective is to save women and girls from discrimination and neglect in matters of development, progress, security and human rights," Yanamala said.

"Gender budgeting is a process of incorporating a gender perspective at all levels of the budgetary process, assessing the needs of target groups and allocating resources," he said.

"The government will undertake a comprehensive set of actions to improve the lives of women across all human development indicators," he said in his budget speech.


Meanwhile, Leader of Opposition Y S Jaganmohan Reddy today termed the Budget for 2017-18 as "astonishing" and said the state should be ranked number 1 in the world as it was registering an economic growth of 11.61 per cent this year.

"The Budget is grand on figures, which leaves people of the state astonished. The IMF recently released some figures that pegged worldwide economic growth at 3.1 per cent and India's at 7.1 per cent. With 11.61 per cent growth, AP should rank top in the world," Jagan mocked at a press conference.

While the state targeted a revenue of Rs 1.28 lakh crore in 2016-17, the actual receipts -- as per Chief Minister's CORE Dashboard -- were just Rs 99,535 crore, he said.

The government could also not spend the targeted Rs 1. 35 lakh crore this year and spent only Rs 1.16 lakh crore, he added.

On the other hand, the state borrowed Rs 30,953 crore as on December 31, 2016, in clear violation of the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act, alleged Jagan.

"The borrowings have crossed the three per cent limit and reached five per cent. This way, the Chandrababu Naidu government is clearly violating fiscal discipline," he alleged.

Pradesh Congress Committee president N Raghuveera Reddy was also critical of the Budget saying the numbers were meant only to hoodwink the people.

"The allocations look grand but in reality not much is being spent," he said in a statement, referring to SC and ST sub-plans, farmers' loan waiver and other schemes.

First Published: Wed, March 15 2017. 16:02 IST