Key take-aways from Jagan Mohan Reddy’s first budget
Amaravati, July 13: The Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy government on Friday presented its first Budget in the Andhra Pradesh Legislature with a total outlay of Rs 2.27 lakh crore for 2019-20.
In February, the then Telugu Desam Party government had presented a Rs 2.26 lakh crore vote-on-account budget ahead of the general elections.
The revised estimates for 2018-19 showed a cut of over Rs 29,000 crore in the budget, against the Rs 1.19 lakh crore estimates presented in March last year.
Finance Minister Buggana Rajendranath, who presented his budget, estimated that the revenue deficit would be Rs 1,778.52 crore and the fiscal deficit Rs 35,260.58 crore.
The huge revenue deficit continues to be a cause for concern as the state, reeling under an acute financial crisis, is faced with a mounting expenditure bill with the introduction of numerous new doles for different sections.
As per the figures given by the Finance Minister, the revenue deficit in 2018-19 was estimated to be Rs 11,654.91 crore, down from Rs 16,151.68 crore in the previous year.
Of the total expenditure of Rs 2,27,974.99 crore proposed in the 2019-20 Budget, revenue expenditure estimated alone would be Rs 1,80,475.94 crore, Finance Minister Buggana said.
Capital expenditure was estimated at Rs 32,293.39 crore, including Rs 8,994 crore towards principal repayment of public debt.
Incidentally, the states debt burden soared to Rs 2,58,928 crore by the end of the 2019 fiscal.
"This government has inherited probably one of the worst financial positions ever inherited in the history of our country.
The debt of the residuary state at the time of bifurcation (in June 2014), which was Rs 1,30,654 crore, reached a whopping Rs 2,58,928 crore by 2018-19,"Buggana said.
Further, over Rs 10,000 crore was borrowed through various corporations and diverted for spending by government.
Another Rs 18,000 crore worth bills were kept pending, he added.
"With all these liabilities, as soon as we came into the government, we were told that there was a resource gap of around Rs 45,000 crore to fulfill the commitments under Vote-on-Account budget presented in February.
This resource gap is further amplified by the budget necessary for our new programmes," Buggana said.
The demand for Special Category Status to Andhra Pradesh thus gained significance, the Minister noted.
"The Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014 was passed only after Special Category Status was promised and this was not the case with any other bifurcation.
AP is the only state that is demanding SCS for reasons beyond its control, as bifurcation has severely deteriorated the finances of the state," the minister pointed out.
Also, Andhra Pradesh was the only state whose SCS was approved by the Union Cabinet but has been pending for implementation, he said.
"Therefore, I am appealing to the Prime Minister and Government of India that Andhra Pradesh be given Special Category Status," the Finance Minister said.
Summing up his presentation, Buggana quoted the great political philosopher Chanakya, saying the latters "Chaturvidha Vikasa" (four-pronged development) would be the goal of their government.
"Achieving the desired target,sustaining the achievement, expanding the sustained achievements, ensuring expanded results...are useful for all, the minister said, quoting Chanakya.