UP CM tables tax-free budget; no money for free laptop scheme
Lucknow: After the drubbing in the recent general elections, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav today proposed no new taxes in the budget for this year, but made no allocation for his pet schemes such as free laptops for students and allowances for the unemployed.
Yadav, who holds the finance portfolio, presented a Rs 4,132 crore deficit budget for 2014-15 in the UP assembly. At Rs 2,74,705 crore, the budget is 24 per cent higher than the level of Rs 2,21,201 crore in the previous financial year.
While no new taxes were proposed in the budget, no allocation was made for the ambitious free laptop scheme for students, kanya vidyadhan and unemployment allowance that were promised by the ruling Samajwadi Party in its manifesto during the assembly elections in 2012.
The UP government has given a thrust to infrastructural facilities such as roads, bridges, irrigation and power, making a provision of Rs 49,108 crore, about 82 per cent higher than last time.
The chief minister stated in his budget speech that in the first phase, the government had started programmes such as unemployment allowance, laptop distribution and kanya vidyadhan for the youth.
He said in the second phase, the government would focus on providing basic facilities in rural areas and slums.
Allocations have also been made to promote investment and increase employment opportunities.
There is, however, a provision of Rs 2,424 crore for the government`s ambitious Samajwadi Pension scheme that targets 40 lakh families and Rs 7,625 crore for agriculture and associated services, 15 per cent more than last time.
While Rs 41,538 crore has been provided for education, the government increased the allocation for medical health and family welfare by 34 per cent to Rs 14,377 crore.
Besides, a provision of Rs 25,522 crore has been made under the head of SC/ST, backward, handicapped and minorities welfare and Rs 50 crore for a rural road scheme named after the ruling party`s late leader Ram Saran Das.
The BJP boycotted the proceedings, saying a notice given earlier in the day was not considered.