Telangana presents Rs 1.82 lakh cr interim budget

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Fulfilling poll promises of unemployment allowance, hike in social security pensions and farm loan waiver, Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao on Friday presented Vote-on-Account Budget for 2019-20 that has an expenditure of Rs 1,82,017 crore, an increase of 4 per cent over the previous year’s Budget.

Presenting the interim budget in the Assembly, KCR, as Rao is popularly known, said the GSDP growth rate of the state has doubled since its formation in 2014 and its Budget for the new fiscal showed a revenue expenditure of Rs 1,07,302 crore and capital expenditure is Rs 74,715 crore.

KCR said since the Central government introduced a Vote-on-Account budget for the next year and as there was no clarity as to what would be the priorities for expenditure, the state government too was presenting an interim budget.

“In 2019-20, the estimated revenue surplus is Rs 6,564 crore and fiscal deficit is Rs 27,749 crore,” Rao said in his budget speech.

The fiscal deficit is 2.81 per cent of Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP).

“The state’s own revenues for Budget Estimate (BE) of 2019-20 are at Rs 94,776 crore in comparison with Revised Estimate (RE) of 2018-19 at Rs 72,777 crore,” Rao said.

Transfers from the Centre as per BE 2019-20 is Rs 22,835 crore, while in RE 2018-19, these are estimated at Rs 28,042 crore, he said.

“The growth rate of GSDP, at constant prices, was 4.2 per cent in the two years prior to state formation. By 2017-18, this accelerated by more than twice to 10.4 per cent.”

KCR told the House the average growth rate in state’s own tax revenue in the first four years after its formation was 17.71 per cent, making Telangana the number one state in the country.

He attributed this to prudent fiscal management and clamping down on corruption.

He proposed Rs 1,810 crore in the Budget to introduce unemployment allowance of Rs 3,016 per month to the eligible. This was one of the promises made by his Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) in the Assembly elections held on December 7.

Meeting another poll promise, he said the investment support for every farmer per acre per year would be increased to Rs 10,000 from existing Rs 8,000. The amount proposed in 2019-20 towards ‘Rythu Bandhu’ scheme is Rs 12,000 crore.

He announced all agriculture term loans up to Rs 1 lakh, outstanding as on December 11, 2018, would be waived off as promised during the elections. He proposed Rs 6,000 crore for this purpose.

He said the ‘Assara’ pensions now covering aged, widowed, single women, beedi workers, people suffering from filariasis, handloom workers, and toddy tappers were proposed to be increased from Rs 1,000 per month to Rs 2,016.

“For differently abled persons, I propose to increase their monthly pensions from Rs 1,500 to Rs 3,016. We are reducing the age limit for old age pensions from 65 years to 57 years. This will benefit more people.”

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