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Populism catches on

Politics triumphs over economics in state Budgets

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Interim Budget 2019  |  Budget 2019  |  Interim Budget

Business Standard Editorial Comment 



Hot on the heels of the Centre’s interim Budget, which promised several hand-outs for the “common man”, several state governments, regardless of political affiliation, seem to have gone one up on populist Budgets ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, due in a couple of months. It is not surprising that in most states that are ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the chief ministers have ensured that their Budgets for the coming fiscal year dovetail with the central Budget. As such, barring Goa, which presented a Budget with a revenue surplus of Rs 450 crore, most other states have presented deficit Budgets with a significant increase in the outlay for agriculture and the social sector. Uttar Pradesh, for instance, has not only hiked its agriculture allocation by 14 per cent but also expanded its pension scheme for the destitute by including sadhus. It has also allocated Rs 600 crore for cow shelters for the thousands of stray cattle in the state. Similarly, Assam proposes to give 10 gm gold to brides, apart from a whole host of freebies for families involved in tea gardens. In Jharkhand, the government has unveiled the Mukhya Mantri Krishi Ashirwad Yojana, under which farmers will get Rs 5,000 per acre every year apart from Rs 150 as a bonus over the minimum support price announced by the Centre.

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First Published: Mon, February 11 2019. 23:26 IST

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