The Yogi Adityanath government today presented its first Rs 3,84,659.71 crore budget for 2017-18, making a special provision of Rs 36,000 crore to honour its poll promise of farm loan waiver through debt redemption. Presenting the budget in the Assembly, Finance Minister Rajesh Agarwal said the budget is 10.9 per cent higher than last fiscal's and earmarks Rs 55,781.96 crore for new schemes. The farm loan waiver was a major promise in the BJP's election manifesto and the fulfilment of the commitment was a big challenge before the Adityanath government, which has just completed 100 days in office. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath described the budget as "progress" and asserted that his government is determined to fulfilling the pre-poll commitments made by his party. Starting his speech eulogising the massive mandate for his party in the last Assembly elections with a triumph over "pseudo-secular and vested coalitions", Agarwal mentioned the challenges of the government in the form of a dismal state of affairs it inherited from the previous regimes. Making a mention of the 'Lok Sankalp Patra 2017', he said the chief minister has set the target of achieving 10 per cent growth rate in coming five years. On the projected growth rate, the chief minister later told reporters that Uttar Pradesh would be among the most developed states. Stressing on the government's aim towards a balanced growth of the state, the finance minister spoke about the resolve to make Uttar Pradesh open-defecation free by Gandhi Jayanti next year. Elaborating on the budgetary provisions for farmers and villages, he said the government has brought in a package for potato growers and ensured payment of cane dues worth Rs 22,682 crore in the first 100 days of coming to power. Referring to the ongoing metro project in Lucknow and the proposed ones in Kanpur, Varanasi, Agra and Gorakhpur, the budget made a provision of Rs 288 crore and another Rs 598 crore for broadening and strengthening of roads to augment infrastructure in the state. There is a provision of Rs 300 crore for Deendayal Upadhyaya Nagar Vikas Yojna, Rs 3,000 crore for Pradhan Mantri Avas Yojna and also a plan to connect the backward Bundelkhand region with Delhi through an expressway. A sum of Rs 100 crore has been provided for supply of free school bags to students in schools run by the UP Basic Shiksha Parishad and Rs 300 crore for shoes and sweaters, he said. The budget proposes Rs 692 crore for CM Kisan Ayam Sarvhit Bima Yojna and Rs 250 crore for performing marriages of poor girls belonging to general, SC/ST backward communities and minorities. The budget also makes provisions for upkeep of cultural heritage and reiterates the government's resolve to organise Lok Malhar and Sawan Jhoola in Gorakhpur and Ayodhya, respectively, and holding of monthly programmes under the Deendayal Upadhyaya centenary year celebrations, besides setting up the Gita research institute and Krishan museum. A budgetary provision of Rs 1,240 crore has been laid out for Swadesh Darshan Yojna comprising Ramayan, Krisha and Baudh circuits and Rs 800 crore for Prasad Yojna. An amount of Rs 200 crore have been earmarked for setting up a cultural centre in Varanasi and Rs 500 crore for Ardhkumbh in Allahabad in 2019. Emphasising on connecting villages with roads, a provision of Rs 451 crore has been made in the budget while Rs 251 crore have been earmarked for roads in seven districts on the Indo- Nepal border. A budgetary amount of Rs 1,000 crore was announced for Swachh Bharat mission for Uttar Pradesh cities. The budget also has a provision of Rs 394 crore for madrassas and Rs 791 crore for scholarship scheme for students of minorities.
Besides, 712 more '108 ambulances' will be introduced in state and Rs 50 crore for wi-fi in degree colleges and universities. An allocation of Rs 40 crore has been made for abandoned and stray animals under Besahara Pashu Yojna, Rs 25 crore for helicopter services at tourist places and Rs 10 crore for development of tourism in the Vindhyanchal region. The budget also provides for Rs 2,800 crore for safe drinking water in the Bundelkhand, Poorvanchal and Vindhya region and Rs 25 crore to develop water sports in Ramgarh Taal in Adityanath's Gorakhpur district. A provision of Rs 200 crore has gone into special schemes for Bundelkhand, Rs 300 crore for special ones for Poorvanchal, Rs 10 crore for Pt Deendayal Upadhyaya Kisan Samriddhi Yojna. The finance minister also announced launch of groundwater conservation mission in his Budget speech. The priority of the government, Agarwal said, is rural development as well as ensuring overall development of the state. He said the backward Bundelkhand region will get special attention of the government. Agarwal highlighted single window system, power-for-all and Make-in-UP as some of the key initiatives taken by the state. The finance minister also announced that a new textile policy is in the works. He apprised the House of the GST implementation.
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