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Infra push, welfare schemes focus of Uttar Pradesh’s ₹6.9 lakh-crore budget

LUCKNOW: Among chants of Jai Shree Ram, the finance minister of Uttar Pradesh, Suresh Khanna, opened his budget address on a confident note, predicting that the state’s gross domestic product will increase by 19% in nominal terms in 2023-2024, compared to 16.8% in 2021-2022.

Nevertheless, Khanna did not provide growth figures for 2022-2023. According to the state government’s examination of UP’s finances, the GSDP was 18,63,221 crore in 2021-2022 and is projected to be 20,48,234 crore (updated projections) in the current fiscal year. In 2023-2024, the GSDP is estimated to reach 24,39,171 crore. Khanna and senior state finance department officials were unavailable for comment.

This year, the U.P. budget increased to 6.9 lakh crore (6,90,242.43 crore) from 6.15 lakh crore in the previous fiscal year. According to the Revised Estimates for 2022-23, state expenditures for the current fiscal year are anticipated to total 5.85 lakh crore. The government projects that the budget deficit will be 3.48 percent of the Gross Domestic Product in 2022-23, a decrease from the level of 4 percent in 2022-23.

The second Budget of the Yogi Adityanath 2.0 government adheres to the voter-approved formula of infrastructure push and social welfare — the two defining pillars of the past six Budgets of the Uttar Pradesh government. New initiatives concentrating on infrastructure, youths, women, and farmers have been allocated 32,721 crore out of the total 6.9 lakh crore.

In accordance with a campaign pledge made by the BJP, Khanna announced a 100 percent discount on electricity for farmers who use private tubewells. The announcement is consistent with the Lok Kalyan Sankalp Patra of the BJP. “Private tubewell consumers received a 50% discount in 2022-23.” In 2023-24, the same has been increased to 100%. “A budget of 1,500 billion has been allocated for this reason,” he added. Later, while speaking to the media, the chief minister Yogi Adityanath stated that the state administration has fulfilled 110 of the 130 election promises made by the BJP and that a total of 64,000 crore will be spent on them.

No new taxes were planned in the Budget, a relief for state residents. Moreover, allocations for state-run programmes were raised. A budget of 3,000 billion has been allocated for the CM’s Urban Growth Program. The Maha Kumbh Mela 2025 in Prayagraj has been allocated 2,500 billion, while the Kanha Gaushala Plan for stray animals has been allocated 100 billion.

Additionally, funding has been allocated for entrepreneurs, the distribution of tablets and smartphones, the establishment of digital libraries, and the extension of e-government in rural areas. 300 crores were allocated for the establishment of digital libraries, and 4 crores were announced for the extension of e-governance in rural areas. A total of 3,600 billion rupees would be set aside for the distribution of tablets and cellphones to pupils. Incubators will receive additional startup investment of 100 crore.

Khanna further emphasised that the process of establishing industrial clusters along the Poorvanchal and Bundelkhand highway projects is already underway. In this respect, 235 crore has been allotted for the new Jhansi Link Expressway and Chitrakoot Link Expressway, while 36,230 crore is proposed for the 594-kilometer Ganga Expressway from Meerut to Prayagraj.

550 crore was also granted to the Bundelkhand Expressway and the Defence Corridor projects. Along the Gorakhpur Link Expressway, 200 billion rupees have been allocated for the development of industrial clusters. Khanna stated, “The Yamuna Expressway Industrial Development Authority (YEIDA) is constructing International Film City on 1,000 acres of land at a cost of 10,000 crore.”

Khanna mentioned the recent Global Investors’ Meeting in Lucknow in his Budget speech. During the meeting, 19,000 investment agreements of 33.50 lakh crore were signed, according to the minister. Around 16% of this investment went to the renewable energy industry, 12% to electronics, 11% to industrial parks, 9% to education, and 9% to logistics.”

Khanna further mentioned that eleven G20 summit meetings will be hosted in Uttar Pradesh districts, including Lucknow, Agra, Varanasi, and Greater Noida. These sessions, he said, will offer the state with a chance to demonstrate the state’s infrastructure, cultural legacy, and growth potential to the globe.

Regarding the construction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya, Khanna informed the House that the widening of three approach roads and the installation of six parking spaces will be finished within two years. He also distributed funding for metro projects, including Kanpur Metro (585 crore rupees), Agra Metro (465 crore rupees), Varanasi, Gorakhpur, and other cities (100 crore rupees), and the Delhi-Ghaziabad-Meerut Regional Rapid Transit System (1,306 crore rupees).

Additionally, the finance minister announced the establishment of five new universities: Maa Vindhyavasini State University in the Vindhyachal Dham division, Maa Pateshwari Devi State University in the Devipatan division, another state university in the Moradabad division, Mahatma Buddha Agricultural and Technological University in Kushinagar, and National Law University in Prayagraj.

Khanna predicted that the state’s forest cover would expand from the current 9.23% to 15% by 2030, despite a significant development push. Throughout his address, chief minister Yogi Adityanath, deputy chief ministers Keshav Prasad Maurya and Brajesh Pathak, and other ministers from the ruling party pounded their desks to applaud each budgetary allocation.

Even as Khanna sprinkled his address with rhyming couplets, opposition lawmakers were observed diligently jotting down the budget’s most significant aspects. Akhilesh Yadav, chairman of the Samajwadi Party and leader of the opposition, and several MLAs from his party wore black sherwanis to protest police action against senior SP politician Azam Khan.

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