Higher borrowing limit may bring more funds to UP
The Union government’s move to allow more borrowings to states by increasing the limit from 3% to 3.2% of the GSDP may bring some relief to debt-ridden Uttar Pradesh.
Though the state government is still analysing the budgetary proposals by Union finance minister Arun Jaitley, sources said an increase in borrowing limit would help in getting more funds for development works.
“The state governments are allowed to borrow funds up to 3% of the GSDP from the market. An increase in the limit will allow more borrowings,” said a senior officer, adding the state government would have to borrow more in future to fund ongoing projects.
Additional borrowing will also be required as the state government will have to spend a huge chunk of revenue on payment of increased salaries to staff as per the recommendations of the Seventh Pay Commission. The state government had announced implementation of the pay panel report before the announcement of assembly election. The government employees will get increased pay for the first time this month.
However, more borrowings may also push the state into a debt trap as its indebtedness is expected to reach Rs 3,75,049.45 crore on March 31, 2017.
UP’s indebtedness comes to about 30.3% of the GSDP, an increase from 30% as on March 31, 2016. “UP’s borrowings have considerably come down in the past 10 years. We plan to bring down borrowings further,” said the officer.“UP also hopes to get more funds from the Centre in view of reported increase in allocations to the states by about 14%,” he said.
Union budget fails to impress Sangam city youths
Employment and corruption were the core issues that the Union budget failed to address, feel youths here in Sangam city. Despite being a pre-poll budget, youths feel it would not have much impact in assembly elections.
Huddled in a corner of a roadside coffee shop discussing the Union budget, students of Allahabad University feel the Centre had ‘miserably failed’ to take adequate steps for generating employment for youths.
As per Pranvesh, an LLB student at Allahabad University, the budget was all about ‘tall claims and little change,’ just like the previous two budgets. “PM Modi promised two crore jobs a year to youths. The result is known to everyone. Here post graduates had applied for jobs of sanitation workers in Municipal Corporation recently,” he said.
Shreya, also an AU student said, “If Modiji had lived up to his promise, he should tell how many youths have got jobs under his regime till now. Simply announcing provision for innovation funds for secondary education would not help when the first step i.e. primary education is in a pitiable state.”
Chipping in the discussion Rohit, also an undergraduate student says, “Lack of employment generation and corruption in government machinery are to major problems. The government should address these issues genuinely.” Youths felt providing more autonomy to colleges based on ranking, promoting virtual learning by establishing a national testing agency for all entrance exams were some of the things that needed to be addressed.
Mixed response in PM’s constituency
Union budget evoked a mixed response in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s parliamentary constituency. While many called the budget routine, others found it balanced with more focus on rural and agriculture sector.
Arvind Singh, a resident of Jagatganj, also expressed surprise over no words on Ganga cleaning in the finance minister’s budget speech. “This is a major issue that must find a mention along with some specific provision for its cleaning and some specific provision for eastern UP, including PM’s constituency,” he said.
He was also of the view that tax exemption limit should have been increased to Rs 5 lakh from Rs 2.5 lakh. “Rise in tax exemption limit to Rs 3 lakh will give just a little relief,” he said.
Veerendra Yadav, a milkman, too, is not impressed with the budget. Yadav said, “There is negligible increase in tax exemption limit. I don’t understand intricacies of economics. Had they increased it to Rs 5 lakh, it would have given relief to commoners a lot.” He also wanted some specific announcements for eastern UP.
Sipping tea at a tea stall in Teliabagh, Sitaram Yadav and SK Singh were found discussing the budget, which failed to impress Yadav. Singh, however, called it a balanced budget. “It will create employment in rural areas,” he felt.
Singh said , “Those talking about no region specific announcements in the budget must remember that the budget presented is for whole India, not for only Varanasi— the PM’s constituency. The budget is good and balanced one. It will strengthen agriculture sector.”
Singh also praised increasing allocation from Rs 38,500 crore to Rs 48,000 for Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee scheme (MNREGA).
Head of department, agriculture economics, UP College, Prof SK Singh said, “Budget is good and will strengthen the agriculture sector. Specially, allocation of funds for irrigation sector will help in irrigating more fields. But more focus to improve income of the farmers is needed.”
Prof Vinod Kumar said the budget was balanced one with more focus on infrastructure development in rural pockets and agriculture.