TDP stages walkout in AP Council

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Hyderabad, Feb 29 (UNI) The Opposition Telugu Desam Party today staged a walkout in the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Council over the welfare issue, despite Finance Minister K Rosaiah dismissing the TDP's charge regarding neglect of agriculture and welfare sectors and stating that the Government had given top priority to it.

Replying to a general discussion on the budget, the Minister said the Government had taken up irrigation projects with a view to provide irrigated water to remote areas and increase agricultural production in the State. The Government had taken measures to utilise river water draining into the sea.

He said the Government had earmarked Rs 16,000 crore for irrigation in the budget for 2008-09 and Rs 5,800 crore for housing as against Rs 5,000 crore provided last year.

Regarding the welfare sector, he said the Government had allocated more funds for education, social welfare, BC welfare, minority welfare and women development than the previous TDP regime.

Mr Rosaiah said the State had overcome the revenue deficit of Rs 2,960 crore during 2003-04 and was in a surplus position for the last two years. The Government had not taken any overdraft from the Reserve Bank of India for the last four years, he added. Justifying the loans taken by the Government, he said the Government was creating capital assets from the loans taken from various sources.

He said the Government had an annual plan size of Rs 43,000 crore in 2008-09 as against Rs 12,979 crore during 2004-05, Rs 15,650 crore in 2005-06, Rs 20,000 in 2006-07 and Rs 30,500 crore in 2007-08.

Mr Rosaiah said the TDP Government had spent only Rs 1,998 crore for capital expenditure out of Rs 5,209 crore loan taken during 1999-2000 and Rs 2,723 crore spent out of Rs 6,536 crore in 2000-01.

He said the Government had increased budget allocation for the irrigation sector from Rs 5,984 crore for four years during the previous TDP regime to Rs 32,327 crore in the last four years and Rs 6,328 crore for housing as against Rs 743 crore during the TDP regime. Likewise, the Congress Government had earmarked Rs 23,734 crore for education during the last four years, as against Rs 16,068 crore by the erstwhile TDP Government.

Dissatisfied with the reply, the TDP members staged a walkout, citing lack of information on measures to curb rising prices of essential commodities, damage to irrigation projects and alleged irregularities in the implementation of the projects.

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