Yogi’s maiden budget keeps Rs 36,000 cr for farm loan waiver

Yogi

HIGHLIGHTS

  • UP’s growth target of 10% is well above India’s projected growth of 7.2% for 2017-18
  • The Rs 3.84 lakh crore budget is 10.9% bigger than the previous one
  • Pressure to fund the loan waiver scheme has forced dropping of many welfare schemes of the previous government

LUCKNOW: Targeting 10% growth over the next five years, the Yogi Aditya Nat government’s maiden budget, presented on Tuesday, focused on farmers and the rural population. The targeted growth is well above India’s projected growth – 7.2% for 2017-18, according to the IMF.

The Rs 3.84 lakh crore budget – 10.9% bigger than the previous one – provides Rs 36,000 crore for the farm loan waiver scheme announced by the CM just after taking charge. The government claimed it could arrange funds by checking extravagance and without compromising fiscal discipline.

Delivering the budget speech in the presence of Yogi, state finance minister Rajesh Agarwal said the CM had a long-term vision for the development of the state with an eye on the welfare of the poor, women, weaker sections, farmers, and overall progress of the state. “Our budget represents the aspiration of the 22 crore people of UP,” Yogi later said.

“The chief minister has shown his steely determination in fulfilling the BJP’s promise of waiving crop loans of small and marginal farmers and has sanctioned Rs 36,000 crore that will be given to banks to redeem the farmers’ debt,” Agarwal said

While it has gone into overdrive to make provisions for farmers and the rural sector, the pressure to fund the loan waiver scheme has forced the government to drop many welfare schemes of the previous government, say financial experts. So, Agarwal’s budget is a mum on the laptop scheme, Kanya Vidyadhan and pension scheme.

Besides, there is no mention of the Purvanchal Expressway though the BJP government has endorsed the project through a Cabinet decision. The government had also promised to link Bundelkhand with Delhi but has made no provision for it; it expects the Centre to chip in to make it happen.

The government claimed it had introduced new schemes worth Rs 55,000 crore, but Rs 36,000 crore out of this amount is for farmers’ debt redemption; that leaves the government with Rs 19,000 crore for new schemes.

 The state government has focused on cultural activities, making an e-secretariat and free distribution of school bags, a pair of shoes and a sweater to students, besides giving a big push to the urban housing schemes funded by the Centre. Agarwal also said the government proposed to recruit 1.50 lakh policemen and allocate Rs 791.83 crore for scholarships for boys and girls from the minority community.
Claiming a turnaround in the fortunes of the state’s people, Yogi later said: “Results of the budgetary provisions will start showing in the state’s development very soon.”

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