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Finance Minister E. Rajender seemed to have kept in mind the resources and requirements of the state while presenting the annual budget for the year 2016-17 in the Telangana  State Assembly on Monday with a total expenditure of Rs.1,30,415.87 crores.

The Finance Minister indicated that the non-plan  expenditure would be to the tune of Rs.62,785.14 crores, the Plan expenditure was estimated at Rs.67,630.73 crores. The budget estimates for the year  2016-127 indicated a revenue surplus of Rs.3,718.37 crore and  a fiscal deficit of Rs.23,467.29 crores, which is 3.5 percent of estimated GSDP, he explained.

Rajender further said that the provisions proposed next year and the provisions for this year were not strictly comparable department-wise for two reasons. As part of  the rationalization of expenditure, a number of plan schemes with similar activities have been clubbed together in a number of departments,  a few schemes with only a salary expenditure have been sifted to non-plan from plan.  Secondly “Mission Bhagiratha” and two-bed room housing  were proposed to be funded entirely from extra budgetary resources, he said.

            Therefore, the Finance Minister said, no provisions were made under the plan for these schemes, except for provisions required for counterpart funding. As compared with plan expenditure for the combined state, the proposed plan expenditure in Telangana for the year 2016-17 was higher. This was a record, he observed and added that cutting down wasteful expenditure, revenue augmentation and enhancing allocations for welfare were the main goals of the government.

                        Rajender said that the budget was a combination of statesmanship of Kautilya, the vision of Emperor Ashoka and the commonsense of an ordinary house wife in running her household. Telangana has embarked on path breaking and innovative steps to give the much needed boost to the economy, which remained neglected so far. Perhaps there was no other state in the country which has embarked on such a wide ranging initiatives within the shortest possible time . Telangana remained a caged tiger till June 2, 2014. Now that the state is free of all shackles, it is poised to emerge as one of the fastest growing and welfare states in the country, he declared.

 The Finance Minister explained that the reduction in state’s share in tax devolution, reduction in plan transfers from the Centre, and additional commitments on account of higher matching contributions for Centrally assisted plan schemes resulted in budgetary constraints for 2015-16. Although relaxation of borrowing limits by 0.5 percent of GSDP as recommended by the 14th Finance Commission has been assured by the Union Government, it had not materialized so far. Assistance for the development of backward areas provided for under the AP Reorganization Act at Rs.450 crores was very much lower than expected, he lamented.

 Rajender said that added to these the new state of Telangana had to face numerous problems of legacy from the combined state in terms of total neglect of social, agriculture, irrigation and infrastructure sectors, huge bills left unpaid by the combined state, over 800 plan schemes, most of which have outlived their utility, huge power deficit, to mention a few important factors.

 The Finance Minister said, in an unprecedented manner the Chief Minister had himself reviewed the working of each department, the relevance of each scheme in its minutest detail and the resource potential. Such an exercise was never done in the past, he observed and added that as a result the budget for 2016-17 was totally transformational tailored to address the long pending aspirations of the people of Telangana. Therefore the budget has the mark of entirely that of Chief Minister, he said amidst thumping of desks from the treasury benches.

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