Finance Minister T. Harish Rao has said that Opposition was apparently disappointed with the State Budget for 2020-21 as it did not give them any scope for serious criticism. The budget which balanced welfare and development turned out to be good for people as it reflected government seriousness to fulfil all the election promises.

He also indicated that the Chief Minister would announce interim relief to government employees in near future as the term of the Pay Revision Commission was extended till year-end.

The Finance Minister was replying to the general discussion on the Budget in the Legislative Council here on Friday. Despite economic slowdown, government did not compromise on welfare programmes and in fact increased the allocations to cover more beneficiaries under Aasara social security pensions, Kalyana Lakshmi, Residential schools and two BHK houses.

Responding to issues raised by N. Ramachandra Rao of the BJP and Jeevan Reddy of the Congress earlier during the two -day discussion on Budget, Mr. Harish Rao said that the government did not give an inflated budget outlay but it was based on the exercise done by the Cabinet sub-committee on resource mobilisation.

Sale of assets

With all elections over, hereafter the government’s focus would be only on revenue mobilisation through sand, mineral resources and disposing of non-performing assets of Rajiv Swagruha, Housing Board and curtailing wasteful expenditure.

On recruitment to government posts, he clarified that 1.23 lakh regular jobs were filled out of over 1.5 lakh jobs that were approved and 1.32 lakh jobs notified. The recruitment was on for 27,000 posts.

Fiscal deficit

A fiscal deficit of ₹33,000 crore was projected which was within the FRBM limits and the State would raise it definitely to meet its capital expenditure targets through market borrowings and other means. He also refuted the notion that State allocated only 9.6% of budget for education and said overall expenditure on education by education department and other departments like welfare, health and agriculture amounted to 12.45%. Government was also contemplating to make it mandatory for MLAs, MLCs to release funds from their CDF funds for strengthening government schools on the lines of residential schools. The vacant teaching posts in universities would be filled soon, he said.

The government would decide on the percentage of funds to be released to mandal and zilla parishads as the 15th Finance Commission also provided some scope. The 14th Finance Commission made provision for direct release of funds only to gram panchayats, the Finance Minister said. A decision on setting up fair price shops in new gram panchayats would be taken soon.

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