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With revenue in surplus, Telangana proposes budget of Rs 1.50 lakh crore

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The Telangana government on Monday presented a tax-free, revenue-surplus budget for 2017-18, proposing an expenditure of Rs 1,49,646 crore — an increase of 14.75 per cent over the previous year.

The budget estimates for 2017-18 indicate a revenue surplus of Rs 4,571.30 crore and a fiscal deficit of Rs 26,096.31 crore, which is 3.48 per cent of the estimated Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP).

“An amount of Rs 1,49,646 crore is proposed as total expenditure consisting of an estimated committed expenditure of Rs 61,607.20 crore and an expenditure of Rs 88,038.80 crore under ‘Pragati Paddu’ or expenditure on schemes,” said Finance Minister E. Rajender while presenting the development and welfare-oriented budget in the new format, in accordance with the guidelines issued by the Centre.

The plan and non-plan expenditure classifications have been replaced with the terms committed (revenue) expenditure and expenditure on schemes (capital).

Committed expenditure consists of payment of salaries and pensions to government employees, maintenance expenditure and interest payments.

The amount of resources left after meeting the committed expenditure constitutes the expenditure on schemes.

In the budget estimates for 2017-18, state’s own revenue receipts are proposed at Rs 69,220 crore as compared with Rs 58,636 crore, as per the revised estimates of 2016-17. Transfers from the Centre are proposed at Rs 43,862.67 crore as compared with Rs 28,433 crore, as per the revised estimates of 2016-17.

Rajender said demonetisation of the high-value currency notes had its bearing on the budget, as it adversely affected the revenue collections in the current year. He, however, was optimistic that with reduction in cash transactions, the tax compliance would improve and there could be some improvement in the tax devolution from the Centre.

He claimed that in the first eight months of the current fiscal, tax revenue of the state recorded an impressive growth of 19.61 per cent despite the adverse impact of demonetisation.

The Finance Minister admitted that there were some uncertainties with regard to the revenue implications of the proposed introduction of Goods and Services Tax (GST) from July this year.

Rajender said the GSDP growth at constant prices in 2016-17 was likely to be 10.1 per cent as compared with the expected national GDP growth of 7.1 per cent.

He announced that under the Kalyana Lakshmi/Shaadi Mubarak schemes, the financial assistance for marriage of girls belonging to poor families would be increased from Rs. 51,000 to Rs 75,116.

Allocations for almost all sectors have gone up compared to the previous year.

The budget allocated Rs 14,375 crore for the welfare of Scheduled Castes, Rs 8,165 crore for Scheduled Tribes, Rs 5,070 crore for backward classes and Rs 1,249 crore for minorities.

With irrigation remaining top priority, the Finance Minister allocated Rs 23,675 crore for the sector. The allocation for agriculture was Rs 5,943 crore previously.

He provided Rs 4,000 crore as the third and final instalment for waiver of farm loans.

The budget allocated Rs 12,705 crore for education, Rs 5,976 crore for health, Rs 1,939 crore for fee reimbursement, Rs 5,033 crore for road development, Rs 5,599 crore for urban development and Rs 14,723 crore for the Panchayati Raj.

For “Mission Bhagiratha”, the ambitious scheme to provide piped drinking water to every household, got Rs 3,000 crore allocation.

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