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Yogi Adityanath to table UP Budget on Friday; farm, infra bonanza on cards

Virendra Singh Rawat/Lucknow 15 Feb 18 | 06:28 PM

A week before Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath lays out the red carpet for India Inc at the mega Investors’ Summit, his government will table Annual Budget 2018 in the state legislature on Friday.

This would be the second Annual Budget of the Adityanath regime, one which is expected to give major leg-up to the agricultural, infrastructure and social sectors.

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A senior cabinet minister told Business Standard that the UP Budget would be largely in the same mould as Union Budget 2018, which is primarily focused on boosting the rural economy and supporting the beleaguered farm sector for boosting rural incomes.

The UP Budget is expected to be populist in nature for gratifying the electorate, especially the rural voters, given the political significance of UP for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in its bid to retain power at the Centre in run up to the 2019 Lok Sabha poll, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi would seek re-election.

Meanwhile, UP Budget size is likely to reach Rs 4.25 trillion mark, which would be a rise of over 10 per cent compared to the Annual Budget 2017 of Rs 3.84 trillion. During election years, successive UP Budgets have witnessed hikes of about 15 per cent compared to non-election financial years, when the average increase in Budget size has flanked 10 per cent.

According to sources, the government would provide liberal budgetary allocation for the proposed mega project, Purvanchal Expressway, estimated to cost over Rs 200 billion. Another big road project, Bundelkhand Expressway is also proposed and the state is likely to allocate some funds for its land acquisition as well.

Similarly, the government is also likely to allocate funds for proposed metro rail projects in Kanpur, Meerut and Agra. Collectively, these projects, expected to be operational by 2024, are estimated to cost Rs 470 billion, which includes the central share. Last month, the Adityanath cabinet had approved the Detailed Project Reports (DPR) of these metro projects.

In its maiden Annual Budget 2017, the Adityanath government had allocated funds for its flagship crop loan waiver scheme of Rs 360 billion to benefit 8.6 million small and marginal farmers. Owing to this provisioning and without any central grant, the state’s finances had virtually gone for a toss and the government functioned on a rather shoestring budget.

Therefore, other pre-poll promises, such as free laptop to college students, could not be fulfilled. With this Budget, the government would seek to fill critical gaps and allocate funds for other hitherto neglected areas, including education, health, social sectors, sanitation, urban development, tourism etc.

In the backdrop of UP Investors Summit on 21-22 February, the Budget would also signal to the business community the outlook of the government towards industries and whether the state financial statement creates synergies with the Union Budget for maximising gains.

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