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Telengana Presents Maiden Budget Today

The Telangana government on Wednesday presented its maiden budget in the state assembly proposing an expenditure of Rs.100,637 crore focusing on the development and agriculture for the 10 months of financial year 2014-15.

This includes a plan expenditure of Rs.48,648 crore and non-plan outlay of Rs.51,989 crore.

Finance Minister Etela Rajender presented the budget with a fiscal deficit of Rs.17,398 crore.

"The estimated revenue surplus is Rs.301.02 crore. The marginal revenue surplus is entirely on account of additional resource mobilisation proposed in the budget," he said.

The minister said that he was feeling proud to present Telangana state’s first budget, "a historic occasion for four crore people of the state, as they take control of their own resources and fate."

And it is in tune with the government’s dream of "golden Telangana".

"The long journey to the realisation of ‘Bangaru Telangana’ has just started and with the active participation of people, there will be no looking back till we reach our destination, which will be sooner than later," he added.

Stating that opportunities were lost and problems accumulated as a result of deliberate neglect of Telangana over the last six decades, he said the immense task before the government is not only to correct historic wrongs but also to quickly impart social and economic justice to the vast majority of the people.

Pointing out that nearly 85 percent of the state’s population consists of weaker sections, he said this casts a heavy responsibility on the government to bring them on par with other sections.

The finance minister proposed Rs.7,579 crore and Rs.4,559 crore under sub-plans for Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) respectively.

The budget proposed Rs.1,000 crore for a scheme to provide three acres of cultivable land to each landless scheduled caste family, develop the same with irrigation and provide the total cost of cultivation for the first year as a grant.

The government allocated Rs.2,022 crore for the welfare of backward classes and Rs.1,030 crore for minorities.

The government decided to introduce a new scheme ‘Kalyana Lakshmi’, under which Rs.51,000 will be given to each bride belonging to SC, ST and minority communities at the time of her marriage.

Making agriculture his second priority after welfare, the finance minister allocated Rs.7,099 crore for the sector. Stating that the government is committed to implement its poll promise of waiving farm loans of up to Rs.1 lakh per family, he claimed that Telangana is the first state in the country to waive off Rs.17,000 crore. It has already credited Rs.4,250 crore to the banks as first instalment.

To ensure stable and remunerative prices for farmers, the minister announced that the government is establishing a Market Intervention Fund with a provision of Rs.400 crore.

As part of its goal to make Telangana the seed bowl of the country, the government allocated Rs.50 crore.

Rajender proposed Rs.2,000 crore for restoration of 9,000 irrigation tanks. The government has decided to rejuvenate 45,000 tanks in five years to improve irrigation facilities.

He allocated Rs.6,500 crore for irrigation. Four ongoing lift irrigation schemes will be completed during the current year to bring 2.97 lakh acres of land under irrigation.

The Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) government proposed Rs.2,000 crore in the budget for its ambitious water grid project. Estimated to cost Rs.25,000 crore the project will ensure drinking water to every household in the state in three years.

As the state is facing an acute electricity shortage, the government said it plans to add 20,000 megawatt of power generation in the next five years. The minister informed the house that a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed with Chhattisgarh for purchase of 1,000 MW of power.

The National Thermal Power Corporation has agreed to set up a 4,000 MW generating plant at Ramagundam. The government recently signed a MoU with Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited for setting up thermal power plants with a generating capacity of 6,000 MW on EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) basis.

The minister proposed Rs.200 crore to promote the use of solar pump sets for agriculture. Similarly an amount of Rs. 40 crore is provided to promote roof top solar power.

The allocation of over Rs.4,000 crore for the energy sector includes Rs.3,000 crore for free electricity to farmers.

The other major allocations include Rs.10,095 crore for education, Rs.4,000 crore for development of highways and Rs.2,282 crore for health.

He announced an allocation of Rs.100 crore for financial assistance to the families of people who laid down their lives for the separate state. The government has identified families of 459 martyrs who will get Rs.10 lakh each.

(With inputs from IANS)

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