Uttar Pradesh government has allocated 2/3rd or almost 65% of the supplementary budget to the rural, agricultural and energy sectors to keep the electorate, especially in rural areas, in good humour in run up to the 2019 Lok Sabha poll, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi would seek reelection amid talks of a united opposition in fray.
Of the total Rs 348 billion worth of supplementary budgetary grants tabled in the UP legislature yesterday, the rural and energy sector departments have been given total funds to the tune of over Rs 221 billion.
In the supplementary budget proposals, populist schemes of subsidised power supply and crop loan waiver in the rural areas account for a significant portion. The various rural and farm sector heads have been allocated a sum of Rs 144 billion, including Rs 55 billion for the sugarcane sector alone.
Besides, the energy department has been allocated 77 billion for the various power sector projects underway in the urban and rural areas, including the provision of providing metered connection to all households.
Since the supplementary budget included Rs 68 billion to be contributed by the Centre for the central schemes, the Yogi Adityanath government would only meet the remaining portion of about Rs 280 billion out of its own resources. If allocation to the rural and energy sectors is pegged against the net supplementary budget size of Rs 348 billion minus the central government contribution of Rs 68 billion, the aggregate spent in the two sectors touches almost 80%!
Of the total allocation to the farm and rural sectors, the state has proposed a purse of Rs 15 billion for farmers, who had failed to benefit under the flagship crop loan waiver scheme during 2017-18. While the scheme was touted to benefit 8.5 million small and marginal farmers, only 4.2 million farmers could avail of waivers totalling 240 billion, although the projection was to incur Rs 360 billion.
In Annual Budget, the government had made a provision of Rs 40 billion for the crop loan waiver of farmers in this fiscal. With the supplementary budget of Rs 15 billion, the total allocation in the current fiscal has touched Rs 55 billion.
Besides, the government has allocated about Rs 55 billion to the sugarcane sector for clearing of the farmers’ arrears pertaining to the mainly 2018-19 crushing season on the private and cooperative sectors mills, which carry total liabilities of more than Rs 104 billion.
Under the energy department budget, the government proposes to ramp up the power transmission and distribution capacity for seamless supply while curbing pilferage and power theft. About Rs 15 billion has been allocated for providing cheaper power to the rural and agricultural consumers. Rural electrification and laying of underground cables has also been proposed in the state.
Source: Business Standad