AP govt presents budget for FY 2021-22, allocates Rs 48,000 crore for freebies

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(Eds: Adds inputs) Amaravati, May 20 (PTI) The Andhra Pradesh government on Thursday presented its annual budget for the financial year 2021-22 for a sum of Rs 2.29 lakh crore, allotting a whopping Rs 48,000 crore towards implementing 22 freebie schemes as the ruling YSRC incorporated a 'gender budget' and 'child budget.' The Legislative Council and the Legislative Assembly late in the evening passed the budget and the two Houses were adjourned sine die at the end of the single day session.

Finance Minister Buggana Rajendranath presented the budget in the state Legislative Assembly after Governor Biswabhusan Harichandan's customary address to a joint sitting of the Council and the Assembly.

Principal opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) boycotted the session over YSR Congress' 'misrule' and conducted an online mock Assembly session in the evening.

The gender budget for women and girls and child budget for children in the 0-18 age group are a replication of the Centres initiative launched in 2001.

'The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), 2030, have identified gender and child budgeting as key strategies to create a more sustainable and resilient world that leaves no one behind.

These budgetary allocations and expenditures on children contribute to the reduction in poverty and inequality, formation and accumulation of human capital for economic growth, higher human development, maximizing demographic dividends, and attainment of policy goals and targets, including UN SDGs,' the Finance Minister said.

A reading of the gender budget document indicates that several schemes running for many years now, including those sponsored by the Centre, have also been brought under the umbrella, thereby showing a combined allocation of Rs 47,283 crore.

Central schemes like Pradhan Mantri Aawas Yojana and Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme have also been shown under the gender budget.

Same is the case with the child budget that has many Centrally-sponsored schemes like Integrated Child Protection Scheme, Scheme for Adolescent Girls and Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan listed under it.

The gender budget has further been divided into two components, one of which has an outlay of Rs 23,463 crore to fully cover schemes targeted for women and girls.

The balance outlay will be for composite schemes.

Further, the government earmarked Rs 48,083.92 crore for 22 freebie schemes this year.

Three of these schemes that will cost Rs 16,899 crore will be implemented through the State Development Corporation, which is likely to borrow the money from banks by escrowing the revenue from liquor sale.

The freebie schemes, named after Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy and his late father Y S Rajasekhara Reddy, include Amma Vodi under which Rs 14,000 is being per annum to women for sending their kids to school and Rythu Bharosa that is a mix of PM Kisan with an additional grant from the state, YSR-PM Fasal Bima Yojana (crop insurance).

Besides, Vahana Mitra that gives Rs 10,000 each per annum to autorickshaw and cab owners and Cheyuta that offers Rs 18,500 a year to SC, ST, BC, minority women over 45 years of age to take up livelihood activities.

In his budget speech, the Finance Minister said the states revenue in 2021-22 was expected to be Rs 1.77 lakh crore as against the Rs 1.18 lakh crore accrued last year.

He estimated revenue deficit to be Rs 5,000 crore and the fiscal deficit Rs 37,029 crore in the current year.

According to Rajendranath, the state's public debt will mount to Rs 3,87,125 crore in 2021-22 from Rs 3,55,874 crore the previous year as the government targeted to borrow Rs 50,525 crore afresh.

It will spend Rs 23,205.88 crore this year towards debt servicing alone.

Earlier, the Governor delivered his address, through a video link from the Raj Bhavan in Vijayawada, for the second consecutive year in view of the Covid-19 pandemic. PTI DBV ROH ROH