The State government is seeing some positive points in the Union Budget 2021-22 presented in the Lok Sabha on Monday notwithstanding the fact that there is not a single mention about the repeated requests made by Telangana for sector specific releases in the 64-page budget speech read out by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitaraman.
“There is nothing specific to Telangana in the budget. We will be getting resources on par with other States,” was how a senior Finance official reacted when contacted. The central government has no doubt made huge allocations on infrastructure front, but the spending is aimed at States that are going to polls in the coming days.
The budget, however, laid more emphasis on revenue earning than borrowings unlike the current year where the situation was quite opposite in view of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Centre’s decision to peg the borrowing limit of the States at 4% of the GSDP was a welcome measure as it would go a long way in taking care of expenditure. The State had been requesting the Centre to raise the limit to 5% as it would give more leverage to the government to focus on welfare as well as accelerated development. Another announcement that is expected to augur well for the State is the announcement that ₹2 lakh crore would be provided with ₹2 lakh crore over and above the quantum proposed to be spent by the Centre on capital projects. “This is a good measure as the States can prioritise their projects,” the official told The Hindu. Another area where the State could expect release of funds was through the proposed spending of ₹60,000 crore on safe drinking water supply and sanitation programmes. “We might expect some releases on this front,” he said.