Finance Minister K. Rosaiah will present the State annual budget for 2009-10, his 15th overall and seventh in a row, in the Legislative Assembly on Friday.
As has become the practice, the budget is likely to be tax-free in spite of the fall in the governments revenue. Yet, the budget will continue thrust on Jalayagnam, the flagship programme of the Congress government. Allocations to the social welfare sector may not suffer a cut but, in all likelihood, the axe will fall on the allocations to non-priority areas.
The Finance Minister is learnt to have decided to put on hold some programmes like construction of buildings and other infrastructure related to the government that can be postponed to ensure smooth flow of funds to other sectors where expenditure was inevitable. The shortfall in the revenues is expected to be of the order of Rs.18,000 crore.
Mr. Rosaiah presented Rs.1.05 lakh crore vote on account budget on February 5 this year, but was out of line in achieving the average annual growth of 20 per cent from the previous years Rs.1.04 lakh crore. Given the anticipated shortfall in revenues, the budget is unlikely to cross the Rs.1 lakh crore.
There is a gap between resources and expenditure and we are taking steps to bridge it, the Finance Minister told The Hindu.
The effort was to dovetail some of the major ongoing schemes like housing to Indira Awas Yojana and weaker section housing programmes for securing maximum Central assistance.
The government is also aiming at securing maximum Central assistance under rural employment guarantee programme and Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission. Once we have more money to spend, it will generate more revenues and create more employment, he said. Apart from the budget, spiralling rise in prices of essentials, construction of projects across Krishna and Godavari by neighbouring States, crisis in agriculture sector due to delay in monsoon and arrest of TDP legislator T.V. Rama Rao are some of the issues that are likely to dominate the proceedings during the session.
The TDP is gearing up to corner the government on its failure to prevent Maharashtra government from completing Babli and other projects, while the Left parties have decided to focus on price rise during the session.