If there was one state that was closely looking at the Union Budget this year, it would be the new state of Andhra Pradesh. No doubt there, for the state had been on an extensive war footing to rise from the severities of the bifurcation. Andhra carried some reasonable expectations from the budget, if not heavy, and was sorely disappointed with the outcome.
Already, the state is gearing up for the building of Amaravati, the new capital city. Despite Chief Minister’s several attempts to ‘subtly’ remind the center about the promised ‘Special package’ status, things have not taken that direction yet.
There were great anticipations with this year’s budget to at least accommodate the requisite allowances and funds towards new capital, development and the grant on the revenue deficit gap from the years 2014 -15. Heavy emphasis was also on reviving the backward districts in the state, and AP government had been actively striving with workable choices on the matter.
A budget provision of only Rs 24, 637 Cr was made as against the Rs 28,776 Cr that was recommended by the Finance Commission. This deficit of close to Rs. 4,000 crore impacts the 20 per cent of expected allocation. AP as a state will now have to strategize accordingly, one more time.
Matters look seemingly contradictory with all the promises that were made by the Centre to the state, going by the State Re-organisation Act.
The bright side of things work in favour of the rural section, clearly. The ministry has taken close measures to uplift the living conditions of the farmers in the country. There has been a substantial allocation this time in the areas that fall under rural development.
Polavaram National Project received an allocation of Rs 100 Crore, and even though there is a dim assurance of Rs 20,000 Cr fund coming from NABARD, the Centre should have re-evaluated the requisites for this project. As much as Rs 2800 Cr was spent by the AP government so far on the Polavaram Project. Centre clearly sent out the indication that the amount spent on the Polavaram project will have to be reimbursed from the NABARD fund.
Specific allocations made for projects such as Vijayawada Metro and Premier institutions like IIT, IIM, NIT, IISER, IIIT, and Petroleum Varsity have to be yet sanctioned.
Nothing was allocated with respect to Dugarajupatnam, a major public sector port sanctioned to the State in the new budget.
The ultimate humour in this Union Budget will remain to be the allocation made for the Vizag Metro. Nothing more hilarious than that, we presume.