Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav on Friday presented a tax-free budget for 2003-2004 in the Vidhan Sabha with a net deficit of Rs 1,020.87 crore (Rs 10.208 billion).
Yadav, who also holds the finance portfolio, presented his first budget after assuming office in August this year.
Admitting that the state's financial health was very poor and the state was in a debt trap, Yadav sought to apportion the blame on his predecessors.
While no new taxes had been levied on the people in the budget, the government expressed confidence that it would strive to narrow the gap by generating resources and cutting down unproductive expenditure.
The erstwhile Mayawati government had taken a vote-on-account for the first six months of the current financial year.
The new government had also taken a vote-on-account for three months beginning September this year.
In his budget speech, marred by a noisy walkout by members of Bahujan Samaj Party protesting what they termed an 'anti-Dalit budget,' Yadav listed the achievements of his government during the past two-and-a-half months and announced his priorities.
He announced two schemes -- Accelerated Economic Development Scheme and the Kanya Vidya Scheme -- for rapid economic development and promoting education of the girl child.
The Uttar Pradesh government has listed the following priorities in the budget for the year 2003-4:
- To ensure benefit of the developmental programmes to the weaker sections of the society.
- UP Council constituted to make special effort for speedy industrialisation and maximum investment.
- The council is to help not only in building a congenial climate for capital investment in the state but also to improve the state's image at the national level.
- To develop infrastructure especially roads, power and irrigation.
- To launch an Accelerated Economic Development Scheme under which is a provision of Rs 100 crore for roads, bridges drinking water, education, electrification, irrigation, etc.
- Launching of Chaudhary Charan Singh Irrigation Development Scheme for providing better irrigation facilities from the canals.
- To ensure remunerative return of produce to the farmers.
- Decision to give sugar mills of the UP State Sugar Corporation on lease to private sector for safeguarding the interest of the cane growers.
- Increasing the old age/kisan pension from Rs 125 per month to Rs 150 per month benefiting 1.262 million persons.
- A new scheme Kanya Vidya Nidan to be launched with annual expenditure of about Rs 200 crore for promoting girls' education.