Finance Minister Etala Rajender on Monday presented the budget of the Telangana government for 2017-18 to the Assembly with an estimated total expenditure of Rs 1.49 lakh crore which is Rs 19,000 crore more than the estimates for 2016-17.
The budget which had been steadily rising since the TRS government assumed power in 2014 and did away with the classification of expenditure into Plan and non-Plan for the first time this year on Central government’s decision. In the new system of classification, the expenditure of Rs 1.49 lakh crore would consist of expenditure of Rs 61,607 crore for payment of salaries, pensions, interest payments and other establishment charges, and expenditure on schemes to the tune of Rs 88,000 crore.
A number of programmes, including two bedroom houses for the poor, were envisaged for implementation through extra-budgetary resources. Thus, the expenditure in 2017-18 would be significantly higher than the budgeted amount, Mr. Rajender said.
The budget size was Rs 1 lakh crore in 2014-15, Rs 1.15 lakh crore in 2015-16 and Rs 1.30 lakh crore last year. However, the revised estimates for last year showed the expenditure at only Rs 1.12 lakh crore and revenue surplus of only Rs 199 crore.
He attributed the reduction in revised estimates up to Rs 1.12 lakh crore to smaller grants from the Centre, sale of lands not taking place due to court cases, failure to recover arrears of commercial taxes on account of litigations and demonetisation.
Mr. Rajender also said there would be an increase in revenue surplus as provision of Rs 25,000 crore for irrigation sector was treated as capital expenditure in 2017-18. The revenue surplus was estimated at Rs 4,571 crore and fiscal deficit at Rs 26,096 crore which is 3.48 per cent of Gross State Domestic Product. The fiscal deficit in 2016-17 was Rs 21,892 crore.
The Finance Minister flagged several schemes for implementation including sheep rearing, promotion of fisheries, welfare of hand loom weavers, women, employees, journalists, SCs, STs, BCs and minorities, implementation of Kalyana Lakshmi and fee reimbursement
After irrigation, panchayat raj and rural development department got the highest allocation of Rs 12,800 crore to strengthen road infrastructure in villages. The Mission Bhagiratha to provide drinking water was allotted Rs 3,000 crore. A provision of Rs 4,000 crore was made to clear the last instalment of loan waiver for farmers.