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AP Budget primarily focuses on Welfare Schemes; BC Welfare gets a lion’s share

Presenting their first Budget after coming to power in Andhra Pradesh, the Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy-led government presented a Rs 2.24 lakh crore budget for 2020-21 — 1.4 per cent less than the last fiscal — with the major focus being on welfare schemes, as expected. 
 
According to the Finance Minister of the state, the reduced share of the State in the divisible pool of Central taxes and the precipitous decline in revenue realisation due to the COVID-19-induced lockdown have made things difficult. The government rolled out a budget, with increased allocations for the government’s flagship welfare schemes — the Navaratnalu — while bringing down expenditure for several other heads.
 
Highlights of AP Budget for FY 2020-2021:
 
  • The estimated revenue deficit is 1.82 per cent of the GSDP or Rs. 18,434.14 crore and the fiscal deficit is 4.78 per cent of the GSDP or Rs 48,295.58 crore. The fiscal deficit of 4.78 per cent is perhaps the highest till date. 
  • The State’s debt burden shot up to Rs 3.02 lakh-crore by the beginning of this fiscal year from Rs 2.59 lakh-crore a year ago.
  • It is expected to increase to Rs 3.48 lakh crore or 34.55 per cent of the GSDP. The increase in debt corresponds to the shortfall in revenue. 
  • As against the estimated Rs 1.78 lakh crore in 2019-20, the revised estimates show receipts of Rs 1.10 lakh crore — a shortfall of Rs 68,000 crore. Nonetheless, it is expected to go up to Rs 1.61 lakh crore in 2020-21.
  • As against the budgetary estimates Rs 61,07,151.13 lakh in 2019-20, the actual receipts stood at Rs 21,87,595.69 lakh. It is estimated to be Rs 53,17,541.99 lakh in 2020-21. 
  • BCs, minorities get lion’s share: A whopping 270 per cent increased funding is made for Backward Classes Welfare, up from Rs 7,271.45 crore in 2019-20 to Rs 26,934.82 crore. The revised estimates show Rs 18,986.21 crore was spent on BC Welfare. 
  • Similarly, minorities welfare too received a 115 per cent rise this time from Rs 952.47 crore last fiscal to Rs 2,055.63 crore. 
  • Social welfare received a 110 per cent rise with a budgetary allocation of Rs 12,465.85 crore from nearly Rs 6,000 crore last fiscal. 
  • Women and child welfare too received a boost with 28.51 per cent increase from Rs 2,689 crore to Rs 3,456 crore. 
  • Kapu welfare was given its due with an allocation of Rs 2,847 crore, a 42.35 per cent growth over the revised estimates last fiscal. 
  • The direct cash transfer benefit schemes like Amma Vodi (Rs 6,000 crore), YSR Pension Kanuka (Rs 16,000 crore), Jagananna Vidya Deevena (Rs 3,009 crore) among others received a budgetary allocation of Rs 37,659 crore. 
  • For SC and ST welfare, the allocations were increased to Rs 7,525 crore and Rs 1,840 crore respectively.
  • For health and family welfare, a sum of Rs 11,419 crore has been allocated — a marginal increase of 0.18 per cent over last fiscal but substantially over Rs 4,000 crores over the revised estimates. But given the COVID-19 situation, one would have hoped for a further increase in allocation for this sector. 
  • Allocation for infrastructure and investment went up by 22 per cent.
  • For Agriculture and allied sectors too, the budgetary allocation was down by 35 per cent. 
  • Higher and secondary education received cuts over last fiscal estimates by 12 and 24 % respectively.

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