Andhra has Rs.1.35 lakh crore budget, deficit Rs.4,868 crore

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Hyderabad, March 10 (IANS) Andhra Pradesh’s Finance Minister Y. Ramakrishnudu on Thursday presented Rs.1.35 lakh crore budget for 2016-17 in the state assembly.

He proposed an overall expenditure of Rs.1,35,688 crore, comprising non-plan expenditure of Rs.86,554.55 crore and the plan expenditure of around Rs.49,134.44 crore.

The 2016-17 budget estimates entail an overall increase of around 20.03 percent over the 2015-16 budget estimates.

The estimated revenue deficit is around Rs.4,868.26 crore and the fiscal deficit is estimated at around Rs.20,497.15 crore. The fiscal deficit will be around 2.99 percent of the GSDP, whereas the revenue deficit would be around 0.71 per cent of the GSDP.

The finance minister exuded confidence that the budget will contribute to the growth momentum and ensure sustained double-digit growth for many years to come.

The finance minister said the budget will fuel construction boom, especially housing for the economically and socially weaker sections of the society, infrastructure development across the state, and launch of the construction of state capital Amaravati.

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Later, Agriculture Minister P. Pulla Rao tabled a separate budget of Rs.16,250 crore for agriculture. He vowed to make agriculture profitable and free the state from drought. It has made a provision of Rs.3,000 crore for free electricity supply to farmers.

In the main budget, Rs.1,500 crore have been allocated for the development of the capital city.

He said the state registered 10.9 percent growth despite adverse legacies of the past that continue to haunt the present. The per capita income crossed Rs.1 lakh threshold to reach Rs.1.07 lakhs in 2015.

The finance minister, however, said the state continues to carry the revenue deficit of Rs.13,897 crore inherited from 2014-15, as a consequence of “irrational bifurcation of the state”.

He said construction of the new capital would require Rs.15,000 crore to Rs.18,000 crore in the next three to four years. Massive investment is also required in infrastructure, provision of essential public services and successful execution of all development and welfare programmes.

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The finance minister told the assembly that unscientific bifurcation of the state resulted in the residuary Andhra Pradesh receiving 46 percent of the revenues of the combined state while having 58.32 percent of its population.

“This resulted in a revenue deficit of Rs.16,200 crore in the first 10 months of the new state’s existence. Thus far, the Government of India has released only Rs.2,303 crore to bridge the resource gap, leaving the state with a huge revenue deficit overhang of Rs.13,897 crore,” he said.

Ramakrishnudu pointed out that tax incentives for industrial development of the state, the grants for construction of the capital city, reimbursement of expenditure incurred on Polavaram project since, and conferring special category status, all of which are integral components of the AP Reorganisation Act 2014 and the assurances in Parliament, have remained unfulfilled.

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He said he expected the state’s own revenues to grow by 16 percent, from Rs.49,764 crore in 2015-16 to Rs.57,813 crore in 2016-17. However, the legacy of huge revenue deficit, an overhang from 2014-15, will continue to haunt the state in 2016-17.

“We expect the central government to step-up its support to the State Development Plan (SDP) in the form of increased central assistance and special grants, apart from Rs.3,000 crore to partially offset the revenue deficit of 2014-15 financial year,” he said.

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