Hyderabad: With the annual outlay for the 2021-22 financial year expected to be in the range of Rs 1.85 lakh crore and Rs 2.05 lakh crore, Telangana is all set to witness the biggest budget in its seven year history. Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao had already indicated that the State budget for 2021-22 will be realistic and promising with focus on welfare and development.
Though the outlay for 2020-21 was an impressive Rs 1.82 lakh crore, the Covid-19 pandemic and tax collections going haywire subsequently played havoc with the State economy. Consequently, the State government was forced to revise the budget estimates to about Rs 1.46 lakh crore with revenues falling short by more than Rs 50,000 crore due to the adverse impact of the 19 pandemic.
The situation, however, improved in the last quarter of the financial year as tax collections increased significantly. As against tax revenues amounting to Rs 1,700 crore in April 2020 and Rs 3,682 crore in May due to the lockdown, the State witnessed revenue collections of about Rs 7,707 crore in December 2020 and around Rs 7,812 crore in January this year. The revenue receipts from all sectors had almost reached the pre-Covid levels, a top official in the Finance department told Telangana Today.
Impressed by the increased tax collections, the Chief Minister is learnt to have directed the officials to draft a realistic budget based on the improved revenues in the last quarter. He has been giving the final touches to the proposals in meetings with Finance Minister T Harish Rao and senior officials in the past week.
“Despite the adverse impact of Covid-19 and subsequent cuts in Central grants, the State government had successfully implemented all the welfare schemes for the poor and the needy without imposing any cuts. The State government, however, could not implement certain promises due to shortage of funds which will be accommodated in the State budget for 2021-22. Hence, this would be the largest ever budget presented in the State so far,” the officials said.
The Chief Minister had already announced his plans to make budgetary allocations for sheep and fishlings distribution programmes apart from supporting traditional occupations like barbers and washermen communities. Official sources have indicated that adequate allocations would be made for agriculture and irrigation sectors including construction of the much-awaited Palamuru-Rangareddy Lift Irrigation Scheme during the current fiscal besides strengthening the agriculture marketing system.
Further, the Chief Minister is reportedly keen on implementing the crop loan waiver that would cost the State exchequer about Rs 10,000 crore.
Amid indications of Chandrashekhar Rao willingness to provide 29 per cent fitment to government employees and pensioners under the new Pay Revision Commission (PRC), the officials are learnt to have made additional budget allocations amounting to about Rs 8,000 crore towards salaries and pensions.
While the Centre short-changed the State by about Rs 13,000 crore in allocations in the Union Budget for 2021-22, the State government decided to focus on tax collections in the State to fill the gap in revenue receipts.
Budget session to kickoff on Monday
The budget session of Telangana State Legislature will kickstart here on Monday, with Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan addressing a joint session of both the Houses at 11 am.
On Tuesday, the Legislative Houses will pass resolutions condoling the demise of legislators and former legislators including Nagarjuna Sagar sitting MLA late Nomula Narasimhaiah who passed away recently. They will hold a discussion on the motion of thanks to the Governor’s address on Wednesday.
Finance Minister T Harish Rao will present the budget in the Assembly on Thursday. In the Legislative Council, the budget is likely to be presented by Legislative Affairs Minister Vemula Prashanth Reddy. The remainder of the budget session will be decided at the Business Advisory Committee (BAC) meeting scheduled to be held on Monday afternoon.
Meanwhile, the Assembly session will be held in strict adherence to Covid-19 protocol that was enforced in the previous sessions too. Physical distancing between legislators in both the Houses will be maintained. Legislators, officials and their staff along with media personnel underwent Covid-19 tests. Only those who turned out negative will be allowed to attend the budget session.
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