Intro: Government’s performance on the economic front is not encouraging and claim Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao fails to state a Bangaru (golden) Telangana, says expert.
The government of the new state of Telangana presented its maiden budget proposals this week. It estimated an expenditure of a little over Rs 1 lakh-crore for the 10 months of the post-bifurcation period ending March 2015. Finance Minister Etela Rajender presented the Budget before the Assembly with an outlay of 1, 00,637.96 crore with a revenue surplus of 301.02 crore. The Opposition benches staged a walkout minutes before the conclusion of the Budget session protesting that the speech which did not have any mention of the farmers suicides and the ways to stop them. It now appears only MIM lauded the Budget for the allocations made to minorities while all other parties including BJP took swipe at the allocations and termed it a mere jugglery of figures.
|The existing power scenario in the state warrants large allocation to power sector. This budget does not provide any for development of infrastructure in the power sector.
—Shiv Kumar Rungta President of Fapcci
Nearly 350 farmers have committed suicide in the five months since the state came into being, and its water and power shortage is getting worse. The opposition has put the government on the mat in the Assembly for what it calls “gross mismanagement.” While delayed and deficit rains have played havoc, no fresh bank loans and poor power supply this season have pushed farmers further into despair. Some of the highlights of the budget are as follows: The government has made a substantial increase in allocations to roads, public health and irrigation and made significant provision for new social sector programmes. These include a land purchase scheme for landless families belonging to Scheduled Castes and a farm loan waiver. Finance minister Etela Rajender presented the budget, with no new tax proposals. It showed an estimated revenue surplus of Rs 301 crore, based on the additional resource mobilisation proposed.
For the current year, the fiscal deficit was estimated at Rs 17,398 crore or 4.79 per cent of Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP), much higher than the three per cent cap prescribed by the central law on this, the Fiscal responsibility and Budget Management Act.
An allocation of Rs 2,000 crore was made to revive small irrigation tanks. A land bank with 500,000 acres, suitable for industries, was being proposed. The allocation to irrigation was Rs 6,500 crore. About Rs 9,500 crore went to agriculture, Rs 4,400 crore to transport and a total of Rs 23,000 crore to social service sectors — health, education, water supply urban development and other welfare programmes, under the annual Plan. Power got Rs 1,637 crore under Plan schemes, beside Rs 3,000 crore towards power subsidy. “For reconstructing the state, we need to reinvent and reorient Telangana… Serious and concerted action is needed to address the past neglect,” the finance minister said.
In conclusion the Government’s performance on the economic front is not encouraging. It did little to improve the power situation and hastening the farm loan waiver scheme, seriously impacting the interests of the industry and farmers. Though goodwill visits by industrialists and chiefs of multinational companies are growing, fresh investments or spurt in industrial activity is yet to be witnessed. The new Government has failed to kindle hope in a section of farmers, resulting in suicides. The farmers have largely been unable to tackle the hostile conditions in the agricultural sector. With the power situation deteriorating and banks denying fresh loans, the fate of scores of other farmers hangs in balance. A good number of the farmers have taken private loans not to lose out on the Kharif season. But they had to buy seeds and other inputs again as the initial showers proved to be insufficient.
The only notable achievement and the happier lot could be the State Government employees, who got a special increment; city police, who got sleek cars and are in for a new uniform; and perhaps the cheering IT sector, which is getting a lot of attention, with a start-up fund, IT-hub etc in the offing. Among the most impacted is the realty sector — though showered with sops it is still to revive. The cement industry is also left to struggle. The students, who did a lot during the Telangana movement (especially from Osmania University), are up in arms for jobs which are difficult to come by, even in the Government sector. The division of IAS, IPS officers continues to be a thorny issue, impeding smooth administration.
— N Nagaraj Rao from Hyderabad