Akhilesh presents Rs.3.46 lakh crore budget – UP’s biggest

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Lucknow, Feb 12 (IANS) Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Friday presented a Rs.3.46 lakh crore budget for 2016-17 – the biggest-ever in the state – focussing primarily on innovation, infrastructure, health and education.

The fifth budget presented by Akhilesh Yadav, who holds the finance portfolio, would also be his last in this tenure as assembly elections in the state are scheduled for next year. It was 14.56 percent from the Rs 3.02 lakh crore budget he presented in the last financial year.

The budget has recommended ten percent increase in value added tax (VAT) and the same increase in excise tax, while Rs.2.50 crore has also been earmarked for the farmer accidental insurance scheme.

The chief minister presented a Rs.27,758 crore supplementary budget in which farmers and the power sector were major beneficiaries. An amount of Rs.814 crore has been given for the Lucknow Metro Rail project while Rs.100 crore has been allocated to the hyped, and now-shelved, scheme of free laptop distribution to class 12 students.

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An amount of Rs.2,057 crore has been marked for the drought relief measures in the 50 drought-hit districts of the state and the special needs fund for Bundelkhand has been increased from Rs.71.50 crore to Rs.200 crore.

Payment of Rs.1,336 crore has been allocated for cane arrears while the Agra-Lucknow expressway has been given Rs.4,003 crore. Rs.11 crore has also been allotted for improving traffic systems in 12 cities.

The chief minister, who presented the budget amid disruptions and slogan-shouting by the opposition legislators of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress, later said that he can proudly say that all promises made by the Samajwadi Party (SP)during the 2012 state assembly polls have been fulfilled.

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