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Telangana Cong govt allots Rs 53,196 crore to fulfill is poll promise of six 'guarantees'

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Hyderabad, Feb 10 (PTI) The Congress government in Telangana presented its maiden budget on Saturday, a vote on account and earmarked Rs 53,196 crore for the implementation of its six poll 'guarantees' with the overall outlay being Rs 2,75,891 crore.

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Deputy Chief Minister Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka presented the budget in the Assembly and said 'the budget is to fulfill the Congress government's commitment of establishing 'Indiramma Rajyam' (welfare governance of former PM Indira Gandhi) in Telangana.

Alleging that the previous BRS government left the state bankrupt, Vikramarka said the burden of unplanned loans was posing a challenge.

"Yet, we will stand by the people with planned developmental goals," he said.

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"In this budget, we have proposed Rs 53,196 crore, for implementation of these schemes. Provision of additional funds will be made as required, once a complete assessment is made about the schemes," Vikramarka said.

The six poll 'guarantees' of Congress include Rs 2,500 assistance per month to women and cooking gas cylinders for Rs 500 for eligible households.

Soon after coming to power in December 2023, the Congress government launched the fare-free travel for women in state-run RTC buses, one of the six guarantees.

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Among major allocations for 2024-25, the interim budget proposed Rs 19,746 crore for agriculture, Rs 28,024 crore for irrigation, Rs 40,080 crore for Panchayat Raj and Rural Development and Rs 11,692 crore for Municipal Administration, Rs 21,389 crore for education and Rs 11,500 crore for medical and health sector.

For SC welfare, ST welfare, minorities welfare and backward classes welfare, the budget proposed Rs 21,874 crore, Rs 13,313 crore, Rs 2,262 crore and Rs 8,000 crore respectively.

Vikramarka who holds the Finance portfolio, said the Congress government is planning to cut down wasteful expenditure in day-to-day government operations and also by curbing expenditure on unwarranted infrastructural assets.

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"Our budget focuses on people's overall development, progress and their happiness," the Finance Minister said.

The other guarantees were Rs 15,000 per acre for farmers and tenant farmers under 'Rythu Bharosa', 200 units of free electricity for all households under 'Gruha Jyothi', house site and Rs five lakh for people not owning a house under the 'Indiramma Indlu', Rs five lakh for students under 'Yuva Vikasam' and social security monthly pension of Rs 4,000 as per 'Cheyutha' scheme.

Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan, in her address to the legislature on the opening day of budget session on February 8, announced that the state government would implement two more poll promises - supply of LPG cylinders to the poor for Rs 500 and 200 units free electricity soon.

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The total budget outlay includes revenue expenditure of Rs 2,01,177.50 crore, capital expenditure of Rs 29,669.14 crore, loans and advances of Rs 28,042.68 crore and capital disbursements Rs 17,001.36 crore.

Presenting the government's first budget as a vote on account budget was a little disheartening, Vikramarka said.

"But the Central Government has introduced a vote on account budget on 1st February 2024. Our government has a clear vision on how to pool up resources for our plans and schemes. As part of that vision we have the clarity that we need to tap the maximum funds from the Central Government under its various schemes," he said.

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Only if a full-scale budget is presented by the Union Government, the state government will be able to have a reasonable estimate of the funds that might be transferred to it, he said.

Hence, the state government has decided to introduce a full budget after the Central Government introduces its regular budget.

Vikramarka said the state is in a dire economic condition.

"Even a prosperous state like ours has been reduced to a begging bowl due to the misdeeds of the earlier rulers. The state economy has suffered tremendously," he said.

Instead of spending on infrastructure development in the state, the previous government has frittered it away on non-essential activities, he alleged.

In the fiscal year 2023-24, the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) of Telangana showed an increase in current prices from Rs 13,02,371 crore in 2022-23 to Rs 14,49,708 crore, he said.

However, the economic growth rate exhibited a downward trend, declining from 14.7 per cent to 11.3 per cent during the same period, he said.

The growth rate at the national level, however, showed a sharper decline, falling from 16.1 per cent to 8.9 per cent. Consequently, Telangana's state growth rate was higher by 2.4 percentage points compared to the India GDP growth rate, Vikramarka said.

The per capita income based on the present day prices is expected to be Rs 3,43,297 in 2023-24. It was Rs 3,09,912 last year but the growth rate has decreased, he said.

As per the accounts of 2022-23, expenditure is Rs 2,04,523 crore, revenue surplus is Rs 5,944 crore, fiscal deficit is Rs 32,557 crore.

As per 2023-24 Revised Estimates, estimated total expenditure is Rs 2,24,625 crore, out of which revenue expenditure is Rs 1,69,141 crore, capital expenditure is Rs 24,178 crore, revenue surplus is Rs 9,031 crore and fiscal deficit is Rs 33,786 crore.

On behalf of four crore people of Telangana, Vikramarka said it was his duty and that of his colleagues to thank the UPA regime of 2009-14, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, for carving out a separate state of Telangana in 2014.

"It is also our responsibility to pay homage to the martyrs who laid down their lives for the formation of the state," he said.

The Congress regime has also launched the implementation of a Rs 10 lakh health scheme for the poor. PTI SJR VVK VGN SJR SS

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