Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav Friday shelved his flagship free laptop scheme, besides suspending unemployment allowance and scholarship for girls (Kanya Vidya Dhan) in the budget he presented in the Assembly Friday. Nearly 75 per cent of the amount under the plan head has been earmarked for agriculture, farmers and rural areas.
While the CM made no provision of funds for these populist schemes as promised in the Samajwadi Party manifesto during the last Assembly elections, he did not propose any new taxes either.
The size of the budget is Rs 2,74,704.59 crore, nearly 24 per cent higher than the budget of the 2013-14. A deficit of Rs 4,132 crore is estimated for 2014-15.
BJP members staged a walkout after their demand for debate under Rule 311 was rejected by Speaker Mata Prasad Pandey.
Asked if the populist schemes were scrapped following the party’s drubbing in the Lok Sabha elections, Akhilesh said, “Why should I answer in yes or no. Don’t you want rural areas should also be developed?”
In his budget speech, he said, “We have included e-books and e-library schemes. Most schools have computers and now these schemes will be promoted.”
The CM, who also handles the finance portfolio, said that in the first phase, schemes such as as free laptops, unemployment allowance and Kanya Vidya Dhan benefited maximum youths.
In the second phase, he said the government will lay emphasis on schemes to provide basic facilities in poor localities of rural areas.
The budget includes new schemes worth Rs 20,957.47 crore, including a provision of Rs 2,424 crore for the Samajwadi Pension Scheme that targets 40 lakh families.
Facing criticism on the law and order front, a provision of Rs 12,400 crore has been made to augment the police force.