Hyderabad: In what is being seen as a major election-eve exercise, the Telangana government is preparing to present nearly Rs 1.8 lakh-crore annual budget for 2018-19 in the Assembly in the second week of March with a heavy accent on welfare.
As Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao will be facing the election next year, the budget would be people friendly. According to a senior official, a major share of allocations in the 2018-19 budget would go to welfare even it meant allocating less on development. The Finance department has already asked other departments to submit their proposals by January 15 and while getting down to the task of reviewing the performance of each department sector wise in the present financial year to finalise the budget outlay for the next year.
The officials said the department-wise budget proposals will be finalised by January 26. After the budget presentation by the Union government on February 1, the state will know how much it would get from the Centre by way of Central assistance and prepare the budget accordingly.
The officials said that the total budget outlay for 2018-19 will be anywhere between Rs 1.7 lakh crore and Rs 1.8 lakh crore but it was only an estimate. The government is planning to earmark 20 per cent funds for the welfare sector in the new financial year in view of the approaching elections in 2019. In February second week, the state would know for sure how much was the impact of GST on the state exchequer, total funds spent for the year 2017-18 and the clearance of the debts.
Tentatively, the government is planning to start the budget session of the Assembly from February end or March first week and the budget will be presented in the second week. “The next budget will be a 100 per cent welfare budget. The allocations for development programmes will be reduced slightly,” a senior official said, adding that KCR called for a series of meetings with important departments to finalise the budget proposals this week. Agriculture, BC, SC, ST and Minority Welfare, Education, Medical and Health and Irrigation will get top priority in the next budget, he said.