In Uttar Pradesh Budget, Adityanath government focuses on cows, culture, tourism
Coming just before the crucial Lok Sabha polls, the Yogi Adityanath government’s third annual budget, presented on Thursday, makes special allocations for cows, culture and tourism.
The budget also focuses on infrastructure development schemes, modernisation and training of police force, connecting major towns by air and expressways, education, skill development and construction of roads, among others.
Finance minister Rajesh Agarwal presented a Rs 4.79 lakh crore budget for 2019-20, claiming to curb fiscal deficit at Rs 46,910 crore or 2.97%, which is within the mandated 3% of the gross state domestic product (GSDP) under the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) Act.
Presenting the budget, Agarwal said the state’s growth rate, as per advance estimates for 2018-2019, was 7% while its per capita income had gone up from Rs 50,092 in 2016-2017 to Rs 55,456 in 2017-2018.
During his speech, Agarwal mentioned inclusion of the Kumbh Mela in Unesco’s Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Unity.
He announced Rs 207 crore for expansion of Kashi Vishwanath temple, Rs 6 crore for a Vedic Science Centre at Banaras Hindu University, Rs 101 crore for tourist spots in Ayodhya, Rs 125 crore for development of infrastructure in Braj region, Rs 27 crore for development of tourist spots in Garh Mukteshwar, Rs 120 crore for pro-poor tourism and implementation of tourism policy and Rs 5 crore for boundary walls of Ramlila grounds.
Agarwal claimed the budget size this year was 12% bigger than the previous one, pointing out allocation of a sizeable chunk of funds, of Rs 447 crore, for construction of new cow shelters. This includes the Rs 200 crore given for Kanha Cow Shelters and other shelters for abandoned animals.
Chief minister Yogi Adityanath said the focus was on “sabka saath, sabka vikas” (development for all) . “Funds have been allocated in the budget not to fetch votes but for the welfare of all,” Yogi said, addressing a press conference after presentation of the budget in the assembly.
In the assembly, Agarwal began his 37-page budget speech with a couplet of eminent Urdu poet Wasim Barelvi’s poem, by which he meant to say “we keep our promises”, and went on to declare that his budget proposed no new taxes.
However, the budget did not speak about measures to meet the rising deficit.
Criticising the budget, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav said it had no vision and it will not bring about any development. “This budget is not even a poll-oriented budget,” said Yadav.
However, some experts call it “innovative”. “This budget is an innovative one as it covers issues beginning from development of religious places of tourist importance to different kind of infrastructure to health facilities and employment generation,” said B K Bajpai, director of Giri Institute of Development Studies.