The Union Budget tabled in Parliament on Wednesday, 1 February, evoked mixed responses from the ruling YSRCP in Andhra Pradesh.
While the state finance minister welcomed the Budget, two party MPs expressed disappointment, saying the allocations were meagre.
Industry captains in the state, too, welcomed the “overall good Budget”.
YSRCP MP Peddireddy Mithun Reddy said the Budget was disappointing with no mention of allocations for bifurcation-related issues.
“It has been nine years since the bifurcation and the promises then made remain unfulfilled. The Budget has not made any allocation for the Polavaram irrigation project. It is also disappointing. There is no mention of a new railway zone that was earlier sanctioned,” he responded to budgetary proposals.
No funds for Vizag metro
No allocation has been made for the proposed Visakhapatnam metro rail projects and to overcome resource gap funding. An amount of ₹47 crore was set aside for the Central University, ₹168 crore for Petroleum University, and ₹37 crore for tribal varsities in the two Telugu states.
The Centre also proposed to pump in an investment of ₹783 crore to the Visakhapatnam Steel Plant.
YSRCP’s Rajya Sabha member Mopidevi Venkataramana said that the Centre ignored numerous pleas Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy had made to accord special category status. He said the Centre had promised special category status on the floor of the House.
The Andhra Pradesh government has been appealing to the Centre to resolve several long-pending bifurcation-related issues.
During his previous visit to Delhi in December last, Jagan had handed over a list of demands to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The wish list included filling the resource gap and also funds for the Polavaram project and metro rail projects.
Andhra Pradesh has been looking for resource funding of ₹18,330.45 crore.
The Centre has not made a final decision on the estimated expenditure of the Polavaram Project despite the Technical Advisory Committee finalising the total project cost as ₹55,548. It has also not reimbursed the ₹2,937.92 crore the state had shelled out from its revenues for the project.
Additionally, the Centre has been treating the drinking water supply plan separately from the project.
The government appealed to the Centre to release ₹10,485.38 crores immediately on an ad-hoc basis to begin land acquisition and take up relief and rehabilitation of displaced families.
Buggana expresses satisfaction
However, state Finance Minister Buggana Rajendranath said that overall the Union Budget was good. He expressed satisfaction over the Centre heeding the state’s suggestions and including them in the Budget.
He added that during the pre-budget meetings, Andhra Pradesh had sought a policy on pumped storage project which was honoured and was announced in the Budget. The state had also demanded more funds under PM Awas Yojana, and urban infra development funds, he said.
Progressive, says TDP
Terming the Union Budget progressive, opposition leader and former chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu came down heavily on YSRCP MPs.
He said the ruling YSRCP MPs failed in putting pressure on the Centre for granting more allocations to the state.
“What have the 31 MPs from the ruling YSRCP done for the state? YSRCP has totally failed,” Naidu said.
He pointed out that the Centre had allocated around ₹5,300 crore for the development of backward regions in Karnataka whereas YSRCP failed to get a similar package for the seven backward districts in Andhra Pradesh.
Industry representatives found the Budget to be overall a good one. “Our recommendations to reduce the interest rates on MSME loans and to give additional loans were accepted. MSME units will be eligible for additional ₹2 lakh crore loans at reduced rates.
The change in tax slabs, investing more in the middle class, and boosting public infrastructure spending by ₹10 lakh crore and ₹2.4 lakh crore in railways, will boost the economic growth and create more jobs both in formal and informal sectors,” said Vizag Development Council Chairman and Symbiosys Technologies CEO, O Naresh Kumar.
He welcomed the focus on biofertilisers. It would reduce chemicals and provide good food to the population.
“Creating 50 new airports/heliports is a very good step to improve air connectivity. IT employees with a monthly salary of ₹60,000 per month will not be paying any tax. This will help service sector employees and middle-class employees with an annual income of ₹7 lakh,” he added.