The provision for fulfilling the BJP’s electoral promise of waiving crop loans of small and marginal farmers is likely to be the key highlight of the state budget that the Yogi Adityanath government will present in the Assembly on July 11. While several welfare and development schemes launched during the previous Akhilesh Yadav government are likely to disappear in the coming budget, the government is unlikely to announce any new major development or welfare scheme citing fund-crunch.
Sources said that except a few select schemes related to the poor, the government may shift other promises made in the BJP’s election manifesto to the supplementary budget or the general budget of next fiscal.
When asked about possibilities of new schemes in the budget, a senior government official said, “Do not expect much. The budget would be very constraint because of the financial burden of around Rs 70,000 crore caused by crop loan waiver and implementation of recommendations of seventh pay commission. The government may focus on generating new sources of revenue in the budget.”
Finance Minister Rajesh Agrawal, however, is hopeful that the loan waiver will economically empower farmers and will increase the state’s revenue in the future.
Around 86 lakh small and marginal farmers are likely to benefit from the waiver of upto Rs one lakh per farmer.
The official further said, a new scheme of launching special canteen to serve meal to poor at affordable price of Rs 5 may be announced in the budget. In the first phase, the scheme is likely to be launched in 14 majors cities including Lucknow, Varanasi and Gorakhpur.
Officials estimate that loan waiver could lead to a shortfall of around Rs 36,000 crore in the state exchequer while over Rs 34,000 crore would be required to implement recommendations of the seventh pay commission.
Another official said that in a bid to save money, the state government has asked six key departments to take loans up to Rs 16,580 crore in the current financial year from public sector financial institutions for their projects. These departments include Public Works Department, Power, Industry department, Housing and Urban planning department, Urban employment and poverty alleviation department and Rural development department.
When asked about the budget, Finance Minister Rajesh Agrawal said, “The budget will be dedicated to people, would be in the interest of the society and every sector would be covered in the budget for the growth of the state.” He further said that within 10 days of budget getting approved, the government will reimburse the loan amount to banks. “Focus of budget will be on various sectors including industry, tourism,” the minister said.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had held a meeting of Special State Level Bankers Committee on June 28 asking bank officers to not to issue notice to the farmers who are eligible for the waiver. CM is also likely to interact with district magistrates through video conferencing regarding the waiver scheme on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Rajesh Agrawal ruled out speculations that implementation of GST will cause loss to the state exchequer. “UP, with a population of 22 crore, has maximum consumers. State will get profit from GST and there will be no loss,” he said.