Poll promises in Yogi 2.0’s first Budget

Presenting the maiden budget after getting re-elected to power, the BJP government of Yogi Adityanath in Uttar Pradesh on Thursday said that it has allotted Rs 54,883 crore to fulfill most of the poll promises made in the party’s Assembly election manifesto. It also said that Rs 39,181.10 crore has been provided in the budget for new schemes.

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath later said the budget for the current fiscal year will fulfill 97 of the 130 promises made in its election manifesto – Lok Sankalp Patra.

With Rs 6,15,518.97 crore total outlay, it is the biggest budget of Uttar Pradesh till date. The Adityanath government had presented a Rs 5,50,270.78-crore budget for the last financial year.

“The economy of Uttar Pradesh is improving rapidly. We believe that we will be successful in taking the state’s economy to USD 1 trillion,” Finance Minister Suresh Khanna said while presenting the budget in the Assembly.

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The fiscal deficit in the budget has been estimated at Rs 81,177.97 crore, which is 3.96 per cent of the estimated Gross State Domestic Product.

Among the poll promises for which provisions have been made in this year’s budget include giving two free LPG cylinders to the beneficiaries of Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojna on Holi and Diwali. For this, Rs 3301.74 crore has been allotted in the budget.

The government has also provided Rs 100 crore under Bhamashah Bav Shirta Fund to ensure minimum support price for vegetable growers, as promised in its poll manifesto. Another Rs 17,500 crore has been set aside in the budget “to strengthen wheat and paddy procurement at minimum support price”, Khanna said.

The government also announced the launch of a cattle-based organic farming scheme in the Bundelkhand region, as promised in its manifesto, with an aim to cover the entire region in the next five years.

A big-ticket item is the Centre-initiated Jal Jeevan Mission. The UP government has authorized Rs 19,500 crore this year to provide drinking water in water-scarce regions under the scheme.

As promised to Nishads, the boatsmen and fishermen community, in the state, Finance Minister said the government will soon launch “Nishadraj Boats Subsidy Scheme” through which it will provide 40 per cent subsidy to fishermen to purchase boats up to Rs 1 lakh.

The government will also launch Sampurna Pariwar Sarvekshan Yojna, under which a survey would be conducted of each household in the state to find those who have not benefited from any government scheme.

Keeping its poll promise to launch a scheme for the welfare of priests and monks, the budget has made a provision of Rs 1 crore to set up a Board, for implementing schemes aimed at the welfare of pujaris, sants and purohits.

Another Rs 1,500 crore provision has been made in the budget for providing smartphones and tablets to youth under Vivekananda Yuva Shashaktikaran Yojana. The government aims to distribute 2 crore tablets/smartphones in the next five years.

As a first step towards fulfilling its promise of doubling the number of MBBS and PG courses seats in medical colleges in the state, the government has assigned Rs 500 crore. The government has also set aside Rs 2,100 crore for setting up new medical colleges in 14 districts. “Work is in progress to set up at least one medical college in every district. At present, 65 medical colleges are operational, and 45 districts have at least one medical college,” the Finance Minister said.

Another Rs 103 crore has been provided for establishing National Law University in Prayagraj.

On the infrastructure front, Khanna said that Rs 400 crore has been assigned to build General Vipin Rawat Industrial Corridor in Bundelkhand, while Rs 100 crore has been made for metro rail projects in Varanasi and Gorakhpur.

Keeping its promise to complete the construction of expressways, Rs 511.93 crore has been assigned for the Gorakhpur-link expressway with an additional allocation of Rs 29 crore for developing an industrial corridor surrounding it.

The government has also assigned Rs 201 crore for the construction of an international airport in Ayodhya – one of the highlights of the BJP’s poll campaign.

The government also announced to launch a new scheme — Babuji Kalyan Singh Gram Unnat Yojana, named after the former chief minister and BJP veteran Kalyan Singh — for installing solar street lights in rural areas.

Other initiatives in tune with the BJP’s pre-poll promises include increasing allotment for Mukhyamantri Samuhik Vivah Yojana ( from Rs 250 crore to Rs 600 crore), Destitute Women Pension Scheme (from Rs 1,812 crore to Rs 4,032 crore), old age pension scheme ( from Rs 3,600 crore to Rs 7053 crore).

As promised, the budget has also made a provision of Rs 1,703 crore for setting up infrastructure for three women battalions in Gorakhpur, Badaun and Lucknow.

It has also assigned Rs 523 crore for the Safe City scheme in Lucknow, Gautam Buddh Nagar, Gorakhpur, Agra and Prayagraj districts.

Over Rs 276 crore will be set aside for establishing the UP Special Security Force entrusted with the security of courts and historical and religious places, including Ayodhya, Varanasi and Mathura.

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Promising to move ahead in its policy of zero tolerance towards corruption, Rs 1700 crore has been assigned for establishing Anti-Corruption Organization units in eight divisions of the state – Aligarh, Azamgarh, Basti, Chitrakoot, Devipatan, Mirzapur, Prayagraj and Saharanpur.

As promised to encourage regional languages, the budget made provision of Rs 1.50 crore for establishing Keshavdas Bundeli Akademi, Goswami Tulsidas Awadhi Akademi and Suryadas Braj Bhasha Akademi.

Interestingly, the budget has also made a provision of Rs 200 crore for building grand memorials of Maharishi Valmiki in Chitrakoot, Sant Ravidas in Varanasi, Nishadraj in Sangverpur, and Maharaja Suheldev in Bahraich.

Rs 15 crore has been assigned for establishing Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar Memorial and Cultural Center and another Rs 1 crore for its upkeep.

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