Andhra Pradesh government today presented a Rs 1.91-lakh-crore budget, with a projected revenue surplus of Rs 5,235 crore, for financial year 2018-19, vowing to make "every citizen in this state a happy person".
The budget estimates entail an overall increase of around 21.69 per cent over Rs 1.56 lakh crore in 2017-18.
Presenting his last full budget in the election year, finance minister Yanamala Ramakrishnudu said the state's fiscal deficit was expected to touch Rs 24,205 crore, which would be over Rs 3,000 crore less than 2017-18.
He also said that the per capita income of the state rose to Rs 1,42,054 in 2017-18, from Rs 1,23,664 in 2016-17, registering a jump of 14.87 per cent.
General education got the lions share in the latest budget with an allocation of Rs 24,185 crore, followed by rural development with Rs 20,815 crore.
While a total of Rs 13,722 crore has been earmarked for welfare schemes, an increase of 20.78 per cent, irrigation got Rs 16,978 crore and agriculture and allied services were allotted Rs 12,355 crore.
Substantial increases were made in allocations to different departments and specific schemes as the state faces general elections in April next year.
"In 2018-19, I propose a revenue expenditure of Rs 1.50 lakh crore (increase of 19.35 per cent) and a capital expenditure of Rs 28,678 crore (increase of 30.60 per cent), including Rs 9,351 crore towards principal repayment of public debt," the finance minister told the Legislative Assembly.
The state's fiscal deficit, that was estimated to be 3.48 per cent of the gross state domestic product in 2017-18, was expected to come down to 2.78 per cent in the next fiscal.
"We are at the crossroads of development and deficit, perpetuated by the increasing indifference of the Central government in extending our entitlements as per the AP Reorganisation Act, 2014 and the assurances made by the then Prime Minister on the floor of Rajya Sabha (in February 2014).
Our government has approached the situation with a clear vision and meticulous execution.
We moved from despair to hope, disillusionment to confidence and deprivation to growth," Yanamala pointed out.
The minister said the government is striving hard to ensure that all assurances are fulfilled and the state comes on a level-playing field with its neighbouring states.
"The state government's commitment to withstand difficulties and come out with specific growth strategies has started yielding fruitful results with double digit inclusive growth strategy," he said.
During 2016-17 also, the state continued its double digit growth trajectory by achieving 11.01 per cent against all-India growth rate of 7.1 per cent, he pointed out.
"The government has recognised that maintaining an impressive economic growth rate is imperative for sustained development leading to a happy society.
The budget proposals are in the direction of making every citizen in the state a happy person," Yanamala remarked.
"A happy state is to be built on the pillars of sustainable and equitable socio economic development, environment conservation, preservation and promotion of culture and, last but not the least, good governance.
AP is the only state that has the power and knowledge to create an ecosystem of knowledge economy that is innovative and futuristic," the finance minister summed up.
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