With elections around the corner, the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh on Thursday put the cow and farmers at the centre of its budget allocation: the government has set aside an unprecedented over Rs 600 crore for the protection and welfare of cows and provided around Rs 1,500 crore for agricultural development.
Finance Minister Rajesh Agarwal presented a Rs 4.79 lakh crore budget for 2019-20, claiming to curb fiscal deficit at Rs 46,910 crore or 2.97 per cent, which is within the mandated three per cent of the gross state domestic product (GSDP) under the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) Act.
Presenting the budget in the Assembly, Agarwal said that Rs 892 crore has been allocated for the National Agriculture Development Scheme, Rs 450 crore for National Crop Insurance Scheme and Rs 150 crore for pre-storage of fertilisers to ensure that the farmers don't have any problem in procurement.
The state government has also set a target to distribute 60.51 lakh quintal of seeds and 77.26 lakh metric tonnes of fertilisers during 2019-20.
It plans to strengthen and construct warehouse system in 40 'Mandi' sites in partnership with the State Warehousing Corporation, with each warehouse having a capacity of 5,000 metric tonnes. This is aimed, Agarwal said, at giving an impetus to agriculture marketing.
The state government has also taken a decision to develop 500 markets in the rural areas at a cost of Rs 150 crore. The budget also proposes to buy wheat at a rate of Rs 1,840 per quintal.
However, special attention has been given to cow welfare.
Apart from the estimated revenue of Rs 165 crore from a special excise cess which will be used to construct and maintain destitute cattle sheds, the budget proposes Rs 247.60 crore for maintenance and construction of gaushalas in the rural areas.
A sum of Rs 200 crore has also been kept for Kanha Gaushalas and destitute cattle shelters in urban areas, and Rs 20 crore for establishment and reconstruction of cattle impounding houses.
The government also proposes to set up a new dairy in Mathura at a cost of Rs 56 crore.
Among other areas, th budget seeks to provide Rs 6,240 crore for rural housing under the Pradhanmantri Avas Yojna (Gramin) and Rs 429 crore has been made for the Mukhyamantri Avas Yojna (Gramin).
It makes a provision of Rs 3,488 crore for implementation of National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, Rs 1,393 crore for the National Rural Livelihood Mission and Rs 224 crore for the Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Rurban Mission.
For promoting sports and creative works among the rural youth, Rs 25 crore will be pumped into the Yuvak Mangal Dal Yojna, the Minister said.
The budget will provide Rs 3,000 crore for piped drinking water scheme in Bundelkhand, Vindhya region and the villages affected by low quality water and Rs 2,954 crore for the National Rural Drinking Water Programme.
A provision of Rs 250 crore has been made for its ambitious One District, One Product (ODOP) scheme. To link youth with self-employment, Rs 100 crore is proposed under the Mukhyamantri Yuva Swarojgar Yojna.
Provision of Rs 30 crore for 'Vishwakarma Shram Samman Yojna' - aimed at uplift of traditional craftsman, including carpenters, tailors, basket weavers, goldsmiths, blacksmiths, potters, sweet makers, barbers, cobblers and masons - has also been made.
A sum of Rs 291 crore has been allocated for 'Pradhan Mantri Matr Vandana Yojna', Rs 111 crore under the state-funded Mukhya Mantri Jan Arogya Abhiyan to benefit the eligible beneficiaries deprived of Ayushman Bharat scheme, and Rs 47.50 crore for setting up of 100-bed hospitals.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)