Aiming high, U.P. to unveil over ₹7 lakh crore budget for ‘24-25 - Hindustan Times

Aiming high, U.P. to unveil over 7 lakh crore budget for ‘24-25

By, Lucknow
Jan 31, 2024 05:14 AM IST

The Uttar Pradesh government is preparing to present its largest ever annual budget of over ₹7 lakh crore for 2024-2025, with larger allocations for infrastructure development and possible populist announcements ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. The budget is expected to focus on infrastructure, tourism, and welfare measures for farmers, youths, and women. However, funding such a large expenditure will be a challenge, possibly requiring increased borrowing by the state.

The Uttar Pradesh government has stepped up preparations to present its largest ever annual budget (2024-2025) of a size of over 7 lakh crore in the state legislature during the budget session here on February 5.

The budget session of Uttar Pradesh legislature will start from February 2. (HT file)
The budget session of Uttar Pradesh legislature will start from February 2. (HT file)

A final shape though is still being given to the various items being incorporated in the annual budget but there are indications that the annual budget will have larger allocations for development of infrastructure. The budget session will start from February 2.

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Those aware of the development say chief minister Yogi Adityanath has asked for allocation of more funds for the development infrastructure. There will be an increase in allocations to capital expenditure and some ongoing projects. There may also be certain populist announcements that the state government may make ahead of 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

Will the state budget for 2024-2025 help give a fillip to the state’s economy and turn out to be an important milestone in achieving the objective of making the state a trillion-dollar economy?

“The Yogi Adityanath government has always presented a progressive budget in accordance with the aspirations of the people over the years. The state government has taken care of development of infrastructure and public welfare and maintained a strict financial discipline. We have taken initiatives to curtail wasteful expenditure,” said minister for parliamentary affairs and finance Suresh Khanna.

However, Khanna remained tightlipped about the size of the annual budget. He, however, said there will be an increase in allocations. The state government had presented an annual budget of 6.90 lakh crore for 2023-2024. This included allocations of 1.87 lakh crore for the capital expenditure. It presented its first supplementary budget of 28,760.67 crore for 2023-2024 making key demands in different sectors with focus on power and funding populist announcements including demand of additional funds for free power supply to farmers (private tubewells).

With an increase in allocations under the capital expenditure head, the size of the annual budget is bound to go up in the range of 7 lakh crore to 7.50 lakh crore this time. There are likely to be more allocations/announcements for the farmers and the youths.

An increase may also be announced in the pension for destitute women and divyangs from 1000 per month to 1500 per month to benefit nearly 93 lakh beneficiaries in these categories in the state. As Ayodhya and other religious places have been in focus, the state government may use the occasion to allocate more funds for development of tourism and pilgrimage cities.

“The forthcoming Lok Sabha elections are bound to influence the focus and direction of the Uttar Pradesh government’s budget for 2024-25. The budget is likely to focus on infrastructure and give priority to developing and augmenting tourist facilities specially in religious places as tourism has emerged as one of the key drivers of growth in the state,” said Prof Yashvir Tyagi, former head of department Economics, Lucknow University.

“The budget may also include some populist measures related to youths, farmers, poor and women. This budget would also high light the progress and the steps taken to make UP a ‘one trillion-dollar economy’,” Prof Tyagi added.

About the likely size of the budget, he said this may be around 7.5 lakh crore. “But funding such a large expenditure would pose a challenge to the government. This may entail increased borrowing by the state. Finance minister will have an unenviable task of squaring up the political arithmetic with fiscal math,” said Tyagi.

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    Umesh Raghuvanshi is a journalist with over three decade experience. He covers politics, finance, environment and social issues. He has covered all assembly and parliament elections in Uttar Pradesh since 1984.

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