Amid a walkout by the main opposition Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Tuesday presented a Rs 2.21 lakh crore budget, the biggest in the history of the state.
He announced budgetary allocations for setting up a metro rail in the state capital and Rs 750 crore for a loan waiver for farmers.
The budget, the second to be tabled by the chief minister who also holds the finance portfolio, is 19.4 per cent more than last year's budget. It levies no major taxes and is being seen as a populist one. The chief minister also announced that people with an annual income less than Rs.36,000 will be given free houses. Besides, girls would get free education in degree colleges, both government and government-aided.
The budget has an estimated 2.94 per cent deficit in the financial year 2013-14.
The chief minister has allocated Rs.32,886 crore for education, Rs.20,292 crore for social welfare schemes, Rs.10,654 crore for health, Rs.26,141 crore for sprucing infrastructure and value-addition on roads, bridges, expressways, flyovers and Rs.17,774 crore for agriculture. It earmarks Rs.1,200 crore for unemployment allowance and Rs.100 crore for the development of Poorvanchal.
BSP general secretary and leader of opposition Swami Prasad Maurya accused the Samajwadi Party (SP) government of trying to fool the people through the new budget.
"What is the purpose of presenting the new budget when more than 75 per cent of last year's budget remains unspent," he told reporters outside the assembly.
Justifying the walkout by his party, which many felt was not in sync with parliamentary traditions, Mr Maurya said his party cannot be "party to the loot" by the Akhilesh Yadav government.