Irrigation, agri, welfare schemes get lion’s share in Telangana Budget

Our Bureau Hyderabad | Updated on February 22, 2019 Published on February 22, 2019

Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao presenting the State Budget in Hyderabad on Friday   -  PTI

₹12,000 crore for Rythu Bandhu; farm loans up to ₹1 lakh to be waived

Irrigation, agriculture and welfare schemes continue to get a lion’s share in the Telangana’s Vote-on-Account Budget for 2019-20 with a total size of ₹1,82,017 crore.

Presenting the Budget today, Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao has allocated ₹22,500 crore for the irrigation sector for the completion of various projects and ₹20,106 crore for the agri sector.

Farm-loan waiver

The Chief Minister announced a waiver of farm loans, piled up till December 11, 2018 (the day election results are announced) up to ₹1 lakh. He allocated ₹6,000 crore for the first tranche this financial year.

As promised in the election campaign, the Chief Minister has hiked the Rythu Bandhu grant to ₹10,000 each (from ₹8,000) to farmers on every acre they own. This will be in two tranches of ₹5,000 each ahead of the Kharif and Rabi seasons. He allocated ₹12,000 crore for the scheme in the Budget.

Other prominent allocations: Aasara pensions (₹12,067 crore); KalyanLaksmi and Shaadi Mubarak (₹1,450 crore); Unemployment allowance at ₹3,016 per beneficiery (₹1,810 crore); Scheduled Castes development (₹16,581 crore); Scheduled Tribes development (₹9,827 crore); and Rythu Bima (₹650 crore).

The Chief Minister presented the sixth Budget (after the formation of the State) as he kept the portfolio with him, while expanding the Cabinet early this week. Former Finance Minister Eatala Rajender has now been given Medical and Health Department. He presented the Budget in the Legislative Council.

“We chose to present a Vote-on-Account Budget for 2019-20 as the Centre also came out with Vote-on-Account Budget. We will present a full-fledged one after studying Central priorities, getting clarity on likely Central fund flows,” he said.

‘The worst is over’

The Chief Minister said the State’s economy was in a poor state at the time of the formation in 2014.

“It was crisis-ridden. There was acute power shortage and unscheduled power cuts, forcing the industries to work in shifts, resulting in the decline of the industrial sector. The farming sector was in distress resulting in a very high incidence of farmer suicides, and the economy was growing at a very slow pace,” he said.

With a stressed rural economy, stalled irrigation projects, tanks in a state of disrepair and beset with successive droughts, the State was confronted with a daunting task, he said.

From there, the State developed a ‘Telangana Model’ of development which is being discussed nationwide. “We could revive the industrial sector as we emerged as a power-surplus State.”

GSDP growth

During 2012-13 and 2013-14, the region’s growth in Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) was 4.2 per cent, far below the national average of 5.9 per cent. “After the formation of Telangana, the growth rate more than doubled to 10.6 per cent in 2018-19,” he said.

Telangana's per capita income is at ₹2,06,107 for the year 2018-19, as against ₹1,81,102 in 2017-18, showing a growth of 13.8 per cent (as against the national growth rate of 8.6 per cent).

Budget estimates

He said the State’s own revenues (SOTR) for 2019-20 (budget estimates) are at ₹94,776 crore as against the revised estimates of ₹72,777 crore (for 2018-19). The average SOTR growth rate in the first four years after formation is 17.71 per cent.

Transfers from the Centre (estimates) in 2019-20 would be at ₹22,835 crore, while in (revised estimates) 2018-19, these are at ₹28,042 crore.

The estimated total expenditure in 2019-20 is ₹1,82,017 crore. Of this, revenue expenditure is ₹1,31,629 crore and capital expenditure is ₹32,815 crore.

In 2019-20, the estimated revenue surplus is ₹6,564 crore and fiscal deficit is ₹27,749 crore. The fiscal deficit is 2.81 per cent of GSDP.

The primary sector is expected to register a growth rate of 10.9 per cent in 2018-19. “This is possible due to improvement in power situation and rejuvenation of irrigation facilities,” he said.

Boosted by improved power supply and a liberalised industrial policy (TS-iPASS), the secondary sector is likely to register a growth rate of 14.9 per cent in 2018-19.

During 2005-14, AP’s total capital expenditure on 23 districts, was ₹1,29,683 crore. The capital expenditure on Telangana region was only ₹54,052 crore during the period. But during 2014 to 2019, the capex in Telangana stands at ₹1,68,913 crore.

Soon after the Budget session began at 11.30 am, the House passed a resolution condemning the killing of 40 CRPF personnel at Pulwama in Kashmir recently.

Moving the resolution, Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao announced a compensation of ₹25 lakh each to the kin of the slain CRPF men.

Floor leaders of Congress, BJP and MIM also paid tributes to the deceased.

After the Chief Minister presented the Budget, Speaker Pocharam Srinivas Reddy adjourned the House for Saturday. The Budget session will last till February 25.

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Published on February 22, 2019
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