In an election eve vote-on-account budget for 2019-20, the Chandrababu Naidu.government in Andhra Pradesh Tuesday announced an economic support scheme for farmers and doubled the unemployment pension to Rs 2,000. With the state elections due in three months, Finance Minister Yanamala Ramakrishnudu presented the Rs 2.26 lakh crore vote-on-account budget, an 18.38 per cent increase over the current year, in the assembly.
He pegged down the revenue deficit to Rs 2,099 crore as against Rs 2,494 crore in the revised estimates. The highlight of the budget is an allocation of Rs 5,000 crore for Annadaata Sukhibhava scheme primarily intended to provide economic support (input grant) to farmers, akin to the one announced in the union budget on February 1.
Details of the scheme were, however, not given and the guidelines would be announced later, official sources said. Ramakrishnudu said the state economy was poised to grow at 11.5 per cent in 2018-19 against the national growth of 7.2 per cent.
The government also announced enhancement of the unemployment allowance from Rs 1,000 to Rs 2,000 a month to each beneficiary. The scheme was launched in October 2018 under which 4.3 lakh out of the estimated 10 lakh unemployed youth in the state were currently deriving the benefit.
Among other measures announced by the Finance Minister are Rs 500 crore allocation for land acquisition for house sites, Rs 400 crore for providing incentives to micro, small and medium enterprises, Rs 150 crore for drivers welfare, Rs 100 crore for infrastructure development in urban local bodies and Rs 50 crore for the welfare of Kshatriya community. The Finance Minister also doubled the allocation to Rs 1000 crore under the Market Intervention Fund for farmers, besides earmarking Rs 4,000 crore for a one-time financial grant for women members of self-help groups.
Each SHG member will be given Rs 10,000 under this. Of the total revenue (Rs 1,78,270 crore) projected for 2019-20, the lions share of Rs 97,000 crore will come to the state from the Centre in the form of grants-in-aid and share of Central taxes, while the states own revenue is estimated to be Rs 75,438 crore.
With a projected revenue expenditure of Rs 1,80,369 crore, the revenue deficit has been pegged at Rs 2,099 crore but the fiscal deficit will be a whopping Rs 32,391 crore. The minister said the TDP government had been closely monitoring the quality of expenditure over the last four and a half years.
"When we assess the state in terms of the ratio of developmental expenditure as a percentage of aggregate disbursement, as compiled by Reserve Bank of India, Andhra Pradesh continues to be amongst the top states in 2018-19 (budget estimates). Our government spent 72.4 per cent of the total budget on developmental programmes, he claimed.
(With inputs from agencies.)