The populist schemes of providing free laptops to students and allowance to unemployed youths appeared to have been put on the back burner by the Akhilesh Yadav government as no allocation was made for them in the state budget today.
No provision has also been made for the Kanya Vidyadhan scheme, which was launched for unprivileged girl students.
These schemes, promised by the ruling Samajwadi Party in its election manifesto during Assembly elections in 2012, were left out in the budget, presented by Akhilesh today, after the party's dismal performance in the Lok Sabha polls.
In an apparent justification of the decision, Akhilesh said the SP government in its first phase implemented important schemes as promised in the party's manifesto and now in the second phase, the thrust would be on infrastructure.
"In the first phase, with an objective to improve and make the future of youth bright my government started few programmes like laptop distribution, unemployment allowance and Kanya Vidyadhan," he said during his budget speech.
The UP government has distributed free laptops to lakhs of Class 12th pass outs in the last two years.
When later asked by reporters whether these schemes had been scrapped, Akhilesh said: "You haven't read the remaining lines which state that in the second phase our government plans to provide basic amenities in rural areas, especially poor localities."
"Laptops benefited a large number of students. Our objective was to make people realise how much this technology was needed and we were successful in creating this awareness.
"This time the thrust is on infrastructure which includes road, power, water and health. This sector is on priority. Don't you want good roads to be constructed? Don't you want that 75 per cent of the budget is spent on poor, villages and farmers?" he asked.
"As far as laptop distribution is concerned, will not the attention paid on infrastructure benefit all?" he added.
Akhilesh said in this budget the government has paid more attention on e-books and e-library.
A provision of Rs 2.5 crore has been made in the budget for e-books and e-library each.
"As of now, a total provision of Rs five crore has been made. But as the scheme will be implemented then budgetary allocation will also increase," he said.
On the scrapping of unemployment allowance scheme for youths, he said the government has brought a better scheme that will benefit families.
"The earlier scheme was benefiting limited number of people. We have brought Samajwadi Pension Scheme which will benefit an entire family. Around 40 lakh families will be directly benefited under it for which a provision of Rs 2,424 crore has been made," he said.
The Chief Minister said an allocation of Rs 20,957 crore has been made for new schemes.
He said that a provision of Rs 95,039 crore has been made under the plan head of which 75 per cent amount was meant for development of agriculture, farmers and rural areas.
Akhilesh said that to strengthen power sector a provision of Rs 23,928 has been made in the budget.
"An effort has been made to maintain financial discipline. The budgetary deficit is 2.7 per cent of the gross domestic product, which is below the fixed limit of three per cent," he said.