When the going gets tough, the tough get going. Nothing can illustrate this adage more appropriately than the sterling performance of Telangana’s economy. The revenue surplus Budget for 2021-22, with an ambitious outlay of Rs 2.30 lakh crore, bears testimony to the resilience of the State in the midst of gloom all around due to the debilitating impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The Budget presented by Finance Minister T Harish Rao represents seamless blending of welfare with development and highlights a long-term vision and a strong commitment for the welfare of the disadvantaged sections of society. The country’s youngest State has been consistently performing better than the national average and setting new benchmarks in welfare and development. Compared with the negative growth of 3.8% in GDP (gross domestic product) of the country due to the adverse impact of the pandemic, Telangana has recorded a positive growth of 1.3% in GSDP (gross State domestic product). The improvements in power supply, increase in irrigated area as a result of new projects and implementation of many development and welfare schemes helped in improving the growth rate. As a result of the pro-active measures, the primary sector comprising agriculture and allied areas registered 17.7% growth in 2020-21. The Budget size, constituting a massive 63% jump over the revised estimates for 2020-21, demonstrates a strong sense of confidence in overcoming the hurdles and putting the economy on a higher growth trajectory. Telangana’s anticipated GSDP is likely to be Rs 9.78 lakh crore by the end of financial year 2020-21.
Despite the Covid crisis, the State continues to accord top priority for welfare of the poor and development projects. This is despite the uncooperative attitude of the NDA government in sanctioning the promised projects for the State, a slash in the share of funds from the Centre and a fall in the revenues. A massive impetus to agriculture and allied sectors with an allocation of Rs 25,000 crore focused on modern cultivation methods and market-driven production, providing Rs 3,000 crore as interest-free loans to women’s self-help groups, unveiling a new education development scheme with an expenditure commitment of Rs 4,000 crore and a new Rs 1,000 crore scheme for Dalit empowerment are some of the key highlights of the Budget. Telangana could weather a string of adversities, from economic slowdown to the pandemic crisis and the Centre’s raw deal, by following a balanced fiscal approach. Despite being a high performing State whose welfare initiatives have become a role model for others across the country, it got a raw deal from the NDA government in terms of Central fund allocations. However, the Budget size has been pegged at an ambitious level despite a reduction in share in Central taxes and grants.
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