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KCR's Budget to focus on steady funds flow for welfare schemes

Hyderabad: As the state government’s own tax revenue registered a nearly 20 per cent growth this fiscal, believed to be highest in the country, Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao has focused on ensuring uninterrupted flow of funds to welfare schemes and development programmes in the upcoming Budget, which is expected to be presented in the Assembly on February 3.

According to official sources, the CM has directed finance minister T. Harish Rao and finance secretary K. Ramakrishna Rao to ensure a consistent flow of funds for both existing and new welfare schemes that will be implemented in fiscal 2023-24 beginning April 1, while taking into account the anticipated growth of own tax revenues of 30 per cent.

Despite the Centre’s restrictions on loans, including market borrowings and off-budget borrowings in 2022-23, which led to a loss of nearly Rs 40,000 crore, the state government was able to meet its budgetary targets on the back of robust own tax revenue earnings, which crossed Rs 1 lakh crore mark by December-end and expected to bring in another Rs 30,000 crore by March-end.

The welfare schemes include Rs 3 lakh financial assistance to four lakh beneficiaries owning plots to construct houses, the crop loan waiver scheme to waive of loans of farmers in balance two categories, up to Rs 75,000 and up to Rs 1 lakh, motorbikes to one lakh construction workers along with development initiatives such as the Rs 500 crore Hyderabad Metro Rail connectivity in the Old City, Rs 500 crore for Hyderabad Regional Ring Road, and Rs 750 crore for the Kaleshwaram tourism circuit, among others.

The Dalit Bandhu scheme, the brainchild of the CM, is expected to receive double the funds in the new Budget as the allocated funds of Rs 17,500 crore could not be spent fully in this fiscal 2022-23 due to legal issues over the MLAs’ method of beneficiary selection. Following the High Court directives to stop the practice of MLAs selecting beneficiaries, the state government is devising new guidelines for the selection process, thereby delaying its implementation.

With more beneficiaries being added year after year for the Rythu Bandhu, Rythu Bima, free power to agriculture, and Aasara pensions, the CM asked officials to increase budgetary allocations to these schemes accordingly to ensure their seamless implementation to benefit nearly 2.50 crore beneficiaries every year.

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