Welfare schemes are priority in Andhra Pradesh’s ₹2.8 lakh crore interim Budget for 2024-2025

The 2024-25 interim Budget has a total outlay of ₹2,86,389.27 crore, up 2.4 percent higher than last year's ₹2,79,279 crore.

ByBhaskar Basava

Published Feb 07, 2024 | 6:32 PMUpdatedFeb 07, 2024 | 6:32 PM

AP CM YS Jagan with Finance Minister Buggana Rajendranath Reddy. (Supplied)

Ahead of the simultaneous elections to the state Assembly and Lok Sabha, the ruling YSRCP government in Andhra Pradesh presented the vote-on-account Budget for 2024-2025 on Wednesday, 7 February.

The Assembly elections in the state are scheduled in April/May, which coincide with the Lok Sabha elections.

The interim Budget for 2024-25 will serve as a vote-on-account granting the government to allocate specific funds until a new administration assumes office following the Assembly elections.

State Finance Minister Buggana Rajendranath Reddy proposed the interim Budget with a total outlay of ₹2,86,389.27 crore, marking a slight increase of 2.4 percent from last year’s ₹2,79,279 crore.

Meanwhile, nine TDP MLAs were suspended on Wednesday adding to the tally of 13 MLAs suspended on Tuesday after they obstructed Speaker Tammineni Sitaram’s podium, demanding discussion over the agriculture sector.

They alleged that the state government was ignoring the needs of the farmers and was not paying the promised amount under the Rythu Bharosa scheme.

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Allocates lion’s share to welfare schemes

Continuing its trend from past budgets, the interim Budget allocates the lion’s share to welfare schemes, with revenue expenditure estimated at ₹2,30,110.41 crore and the capital expenditure receives only ₹30,530.18 crore.

The revenue deficit for the upcoming financial year is estimated to stand at around ₹24,758.22 crore, which is 1.56 percent of the GSDP of the state. The fiscal deficit is estimated at around ₹55,817.50 crore, accounting for 3.51 percent of the GSDP.

While presenting the interim Budget, the Finance Minister stated, “In the last five years, under Chief Minister YS Jagan’s leadership, the novel growth and welfare-oriented governance paradigm of our government has resulted in economic development, infrastructure creation, and prosperity in Andhra Pradesh.”

“What lies ahead of us is a big, bold and bright future for Andhra Pradesh,” the Minister claimed.

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Accounts and achievements from the past year

The finance accounts for the 2022-23 fiscal year, finalised by the Accountant General (AG) of Andhra Pradesh and mentioned in the Budget speech, indicated a revenue deficit of ₹44,487.49 crore and a fiscal deficit of ₹52,508.34 crore.

These deficits represented 3.30 percent and 3.98 percent of the GSDP, respectively.

In the revised estimate for 2023-24, revenue expenditure is projected at ₹2,28,237.77 crore, while capital expenditure is estimated at ₹27,308.12 crore.

The revenue deficit for 2023-24 is approximately ₹31,534.94 crore, with the fiscal deficit standing at around ₹60,153.59 crore. These figures amount to 2.19 percent and 4.18 percent of the GSDP, respectively.

The Finance Minister highlighted Andhra Pradesh’s economic progress, noting that in 2018-19, the state ranked 14th in terms of GSDP growth rate at 11 percent. However, by 2022-23, the state had improved significantly, achieving the 4th position with a GSDP growth rate of 16.2 percent.

Addressing concerns about low investment inflow, the Finance Minister cited the presence of industry giants like Microsoft, Jindal, Reliance, Adani, Laurus Synthesis, TCS, Infosys, Hero Motocorp, Yokohama, Grasim Industries, and Greenko Energy, among others, which have invested in the state over the last four years.

He stated: “Since 2019, over 311 large and mega industries have been established, providing employment to more than 1.3 lakh people. Additionally, 1.93 lakh MSMEs have commenced production with an investment of ₹5,995 crore, employing 13,67,618 persons.”

He also highlighted Andhra Pradesh’s thriving ecosystem for start-ups, noting that new MSME registrations increased from 65,174 in 2020 to 7.2 lakh in 2023. The state also ranks 7th in terms of women-owned MSMEs, with a five percent share in the country.

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TDP MLAs suspended

On the first day of the current session on Monday, the TDP walked out during Governor Abdul Nazeer’s address. On the second day, approximately 13 MLAs were suspended for creating a ruckus in the Assembly, demanding Speaker Tammineni Sitaram to allow a discussion on inflation and the hike in power tariffs.

However, the following day, about nine MLAs were suspended for demanding a discussion on the agriculture sector.

TDP Palakollu MLA Nimmala Rama Naidu, speaking to the media, criticised the speaker for denying the adjournment motion and accused the YSRCP government of being indifferent to farming and agriculture by refusing to address these crucial issues in the Assembly.

He further alleged that YS Jagan Mohan Reddy’s administration is neglecting farmers and agricultural procedures.

“Over the past five years of YS Jagan’s rule, it is evident that he has not prioritised the needs of farmers. Andhra Pradesh ranks second in farmers’ suicides and third in tenant farmers’ suicides,” Rama Naidu said highlighting the alleged dire situation facing agricultural communities under YS Jagan’s leadership.

“During his padayatra, YS Jagan promised Rythu Bharosa payment of ₹13,500. Yet, farmers are only receiving ₹7,500. This significant reduction means that each farmer is losing ₹30,000, exemplifying Jagan Reddy’s betrayal of the state’s farmers,” he said.