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Saturday, September 18, 2021

Polls ahead: Job thrust in UP govt’s supplementary budget

Also, the government announced a hike in the salaries/honorariums of contractual workers like Asha workers, Anganwadi workers, gram chaukidars as well as shiksha mitras, who have been demanding a wage hike for a long time.

Written by Maulshree Seth | Lucknow |
August 19, 2021 5:37:16 am
Finance Minister Suresh Khanna (left) presents the Budget with CM Yogi Adityanath by his side, Wednesday. (Express)

Keeping in mind the Assembly elections, which are less than a year to go, the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday presented a supplementary budget of Rs 7,301.52 crore to meet its additional expenditure in the current fiscal with a focus on employment generation.

Also, the government announced a hike in the salaries/honorariums of contractual workers like Asha workers, Anganwadi workers, gram chaukidars as well as shiksha mitras, who have been demanding a wage hike for a long time.

Presenting the supplementary budget in the Assembly, Finance Minister Suresh Kumar Khanna said the focus is on “extremely important issues” of public welfare or fulfilling any particular scheme.

“There are some new demands in this, especially for creating job opportunities for the youth for which Rs 3,000 crore have been allocated. The other highlights are social security fund for advocates, improvement in the electricity system, construction of Ambedkar Smarak and Saanskritik Kendra, conservation of stray cattle and increasing the basic infrastructure in Ayodhya,” he said.

Stating that the supplementary budget was“only 1.33 per cent of the annual budget of Rs 5.5 lakh crore” presented by the government earlier this year, Khanna called for passing the budget without any discussion.

“In the span of four-and-a-half years of our government, the perception of the public has changed. The biggest parameter is the evaluation of any government, and the view of the public is that the Yogi Adityanath government in UP has made new records, and has also broken some records. Hence, I would like to urge the House through you (Speaker) to pass the 1.33 per cent supplementary budget without any discussion. It would be good.”

Khanna’s remarks were objected to by the Opposition MLAs with Leader of the Opposition Ram Govind Chaudhary (Samajwadi Party) taking a dig at the government for “breaking new records”. “It is true that the BJP government has set new records, but these are in rising unemployment, growing corruption and price rise etc,” he said.

To which the Finance Minister retorted. Pointing at Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Khanna said, “He is the Ram of politics, and he is sitting here to defeat the evil powers.” This prompted a loud desk-thumping by the members of the ruling party with chanting of “Jai Siya Ram”.

Considering that unemployment is a raging issue, the government has allocated nearly 40 per cent (Rs 3,000 crore) of its supplementary budget towards it. The budget document says that the money will be spent to make youths “digitally equipped”. However, the government has not yet elaborated its plan.

The government has also come up with a social security scheme for lawyers for which it has allotted Rs 90 crore in this fiscal year. Under the scheme, lawyers completing 30 years of service will get Rs 5 lakh as assistance from the government.

The government has also made significant provisions towards the development of religious places like Ayodhya and Varanasi, and has set aside Rs 300 crore for the upkeep of stray cattle. It has also allocated Rs 50 crore for the construction of Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar Smarak and Sanskritik Kendra in the state, besides announcing an award for Sanskrit Pandits.

In the infrastructure sector, the supplementary budget has sought Rs 100 crore for Bundelkhand expressway, and Rs 50 crore for Ballia-Link expressway.

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