Bhatti presents a Rs. 2.75 Lakh Cr Vote on Account budget for 2024-25

Hyderabad: Deputy Chief Minister Bhatti Vikramarka Mallu on Saturday presented a Vote On Account budget of Rs. 2,75,891 crore for the Telangana State for the financial year 2024-25. Of this, the proposed Revenue expenditure is Rs. 2,01,178 crore while the Capital expenditure is Rs. 29,669 crore.

Presenting the first budget of the Congress Government in Telangana in the Legislative Assembly, Bhatti Vikramarka said that presenting the government’s first budget as a Vote on Account was a little disheartening. He said since the Central Government introduced a Vote on Account on 1st February 2024 and the State needs to tap the maximum funds from the Centre, the State Government was forced to present a Vote on Account budget. He said the Telangana Government too would present a full budget after the Central Government introduces its regular budget.

Bhatti Vikarmarka said that the budget was aimed at fulfilling the Congress Government’s commitment of establishing Indiramma Rajyam in Telangana. “The central focus of the budget is the overall development of the Telangana state. I propose a two-pronged development of Telangana – The development of weaker sections of Telangana by spending budget resources on the six guarantees with a rational principle. No family below the poverty line should be left untouched by the resource development of their families and persons. The six guarantees invest resources (both by transfer of money and agrarian and other forms of development) with a rational approach to every family that deserves the welfare package,” he said.

The Deputy CM said that the six guarantees including the Mahalakshmi, Rythu Bharosa, Gruha Jyothi, Indiramma Houses, Yuva Vikasam, and Cheyutha, would also be implemented. At the same time, this budget keeps in mind a vast agrarian sector to boost production. We also keep urban development with planned industrialization and production.

An amount of Rs. 53,196 crores has been proposed for the implementation of Abhaya Hastam (Six Guarantees). “Provision of additional funds will be made as required, once a complete assessment is made about the schemes. We vow to fulfil all the promises made during the election campaign. The Warangal declaration for farmers, Youth declaration in Hyderabad, SC-ST declaration announced in Chevella, the BC declaration and Minority declaration announced in Kamareddy will be implemented,” he said.

The other major allocations are Panchayat Raj and Rural Development – Rs 40,080 Cr; Municipal Administration – Rs 11,692  Cr; Agriculture – Rs 19,746 Cr; SC Welfare – Rs 21,874 Cr; ST Welfare – Rs 13,313 Cr; Minorities Welfare – Rs 2,262 Cr; BC Welfare – Rs 8,000; Education – Rs 21,389 Cr; Medical and Health – Rs 11,500 Cr; Power Sector – Rs 16,825 Cr; Housing – Rs 7,740 Cr; Irrigation – Rs 28,024 Cr; Industries – Rs 2,543 Cr and Information Technology – Rs 774 Crore.

“Development of the state in terms of education, health, infrastructure, and employment which cover the main demands of the Telangana movement – Neellu, Nidhulu, Niyamakalu. For the last ten years in ten budgets, none of these issues were covered in a planned manner. But my budget will change that course and make it people-centred development and their welfare,” he said.

Bhatti Vikramarka said that the earlier government made the state bankrupt. The burden of unplanned loans is a major challenge. Yet we will stand by the people with planned developmental goals, he said.

The Deputy CM announced that the State Government was planning to cut down wasteful expenditure in day-to-day government operations and also by curbing expenditure on unwarranted infrastructural assets. “Our budget focuses on people’s overall development, progress and their happiness,” he said.

Bhatti Vikramarka alleged that the previous government’s budget was far from reality. “It has inflated the receipts and created an illusion that they are providing huge funds for different schemes. For example, in the budget for 2021-22, Rs.17,700 Crores were allocated for the Dalit Bandhu but a single rupee was not released. Further, as per CAG accounts for 2021-22 Rs. 4,874 Crores allotted to SC Welfare was not spent, Rs. 2,918 Crores allocated to ST development was not spent, Rs.1,437 Crores allocated for Backward classes development was not spent. Similarly, from the year 2014-15 to 2023-24 only Rs. 297 crores out of the total allocation of Rs.1,067 crores was spent for interest-free loans, Rs.2,685 crores only was spent against the budgeted allocation of Rs. 7,848 crores. It is clear with this that amounts were shown as allocations to gain mileage but were not actually spent,” he said.

“We dispense with this terrible practice and we have estimated our receipts realistically and have made allocations accordingly. This shows our commitment to match our actions with our words,” he said.

Speaking about the economy, the Deputy CM said that in the fiscal year 2023-24, the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) of Telangana showed an increase in current prices from Rs. 13,02,371 crores in 2022-23 to Rs. 14,49,708 crores. However, the economic growth rate exhibited a downward trend, declining from 14.7% to 11.3% during the same period. The growth rate at the national level, however, showed a sharper decline, falling from 16.1% to 8.9%. Consequently, Telangana’s state growth rate was higher by 2.4 percentage points compared to the India GDP growth rate.

The economic growth rate in Telangana, in constant prices, declined by 1.0 percentage points to 6.5% in 2023-24 from 7.5% in the previous year. Whereas the increase in growth was marginal at 0.1% at the country level. This shows that the Telangana economy experienced a sharp decline in growth.

The Per Capita Income based on the present day prices is expected to be Rs.3,43,297 in 2023-24, It was Rs.3,09,912 last year but the growth rate has decreased.

The Deputy CM pointed out that the differing growth rates at current and constant prices between Telangana and India suggest a higher rate of inflation in Telangana compared to the national average. This is further evidenced by the higher Consumer Price Index in Telangana, which stood at 6.65% in December 2023, placing the state 5th in the country in terms of inflation rate, compared to India’s 5.69%.

Bhatti Vikarmarka said that in the fiscal year 2023-24, Telangana’s economy demonstrated varied performances across its sub-sectors, influenced by a range of factors. The primary sector, particularly agriculture, experienced a notable decline. The Gross Value Added in the crops sub-sector decreased from Rs. 49,059 crores in 2022-23 to Rs. 45,723 crores in 2023-24. This significant drop, which translated into a growth rate of -6.8%, was primarily due to adverse seasonal conditions. The Southwest monsoon was delayed by 17 days, and there were large fluctuations in rainfall during the season. Notably, during the critical stages of crop growth in August and October, rainfall was markedly deficient. These conditions, coupled with prolonged dry spells, groundwater depletion, and insufficient water levels in the Krishna basin, led to a drastic reduction in the sown area of key crops such as paddy, cotton, maize, red gram, and Bengal gram.Concurrently, the secondary and tertiary sectors of Telangana’s economy also saw a decline in growth rates. Notable decreases were observed in sectors like electricity, gas, water supply, trade and repair services, hotels and restaurants, railways, and air transport. However, the manufacturing sector presented a contrasting trend, growing at 5.9% compared to just 1.3% in the previous year. Other sectors such as real estate, construction, and mining and quarrying also experienced higher growth rates in 2023-24 compared to the preceding year, he said. (INN)

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