A soft, tax-free Budget for 2003-04 with a net deficit of Rs 13.74 crore (Rs 137 million) and a total outlay of Rs 43,480 crore (Rs 434.8 billion) was presented by Andhra Pradesh Finance Minister Y Ramakrishnudu in the state assembly on Saturday.
After throwing open the draft proposals for public debate in an exercise meant to demystify budgetary exercise, the minister presented the Budget that showed increased allocations for irrigation, power and agriculture sectors.
As the worst drought in three decades cast its shadow on the annual Budget, Ramakrishnudu spoke of 'crucial policy decisions' to enhance allocations for irrigation sector to Rs 2,178.92 crores (Rs 21.79 billion).
The total plan outlay for 2003-04 has been pegged at Rs 13,175.56 crores (Rs 131.76 billion), reflecting a 31.78 per cent increase, while non-plan expenditure was estimated at Rs 30,304.88 crores (Rs 301.04 billion).
"This will result in a revenue deficit of Rs 2,131.58 crores (Rs 21.31 billion) accounting for 1.17 per cent of the Gross State Domestic Product. After taking into account the overall transactions of the year, we will have a net deficit of Rs 13.74 crores," the minister said.The unique feature of this year's Budget was that the draft proposals were linked to the performance of each government department, which were asked to present their achievements during the year and set out targets for the next year.