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UP govt spent 38% of budget till January 2018, allocation for social sector in 2018-19 slips, many schemes dropped

By Umesh Babu*
The Uttar Pradesh budget papers, presented by the state government in the assembly on February 16, even as suggesting an 11.4% rise in allocations -- from Rs 4,17,257 crore in 2017-18 to Rs 4,56,248 crore in 2018-19 -- have, ironically, also revealed that the total expenditure met during 2017-18 till January 2018 was just 37.91%. It means, till March-end, the government would need to spend 62% of the budget amount.
While this suggests the shameless style of working of an elected political party, sectorwise details show that in agriculture Rs 36,687.31 crore was allocated in 2017-18, but only Rs 20,403.49 crore (55.61%) could be spent till January 2018. The spending for scheduled tribes (ST) was 24.16% of the allocation, for scheduled castes (SCs) it was 45.69%, for the handicapped and backward classes it was 26%, for woman and child it was 43.3%, and for forest and environment it was 47.56%.
Increase in the current budget allocation stands in sharp contrast to all public pronouncements on welfare state. For instance, the subsidy on certified seeds, which was Rs 65 crore in 20117-18, has been reduced to Rs 55 crore in 2018-19. Similarly several other schemes that benefits to the farmers have seen a reduction in budgetary allocations.
The forest working people have suffered from the relief they were getting. The state government has abandoned many schemes that directly benefit them. This is reflected in the Social Forestry District Plan expenditure, which was Rs 230.51, but has been reduced to Rs 120 crore for 2018-19.
On the other hand, even as allocating Rs 24,448 crore for SCs, Rs 2,307 crore of this amount had been set aside as loan to power sector companies, and Rs 1,713 crore will go to canal and highways construction. A similar pattern can be observed in allocations for schemes meantmfor dairying, fisheries, sugarcane subsidy, etc., many of whom have seen a massive reduction or have been abandoned altogether.
The labour and employment department has started winding up its offices by reducing budget in the activities that matter for employment exchanges and employment to the youth. For example, for employment exchange offices, there is a budget allocation of Rs 66 crore, but the allocation for facilitating training and distributing materials is just Rs 0.151 crore for the entire state!
The state governments appears to have made a mockery of the health department budget. It is manipulated figures by increasing and decreasing allocations for two separate purposes -- salary and ‘charges for professional and other services’. The amount reduced and increased is exactly Rs 1,177.84 crore. Similar lapses are found everywhere in the health sector.
For woman and child welfare, the budget has been increased from Rs 6,353 crore to Rs 7,481 crore, but allocations in schemes like maternal welfare, nutritional feeding to malnourished children, nutritional feeding to pregnant women have been reduced. Some of the schemes have been abandoned altogether.
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*Delhi Solidarity Group. Click HERE for detailed analysis

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