The 2017-2018 Andhra Pradesh budget has put a major focus on Education as well as rural development. The budget reinforces the state’s focus on education in the year coming forward with a major thrust for the sector indicating that the state’s government is truly ready to focus on growth and equality. The budget was presented in Amaravati, the state’s new capital city on the 15th of March 2017 in the state assembly. The finance Minister for Andhra Pradesh Y Ramakrishnudu also went on to include what was titled as a ‘gender budget’ as a part of the annual fiscal statement. This was done to make sure that the goal of economic and social progress of the women of the state was safeguarded and promoted in the following year, this is indeed a landmark move for the state which showcases its commitment towards both education and equality for women in Andhra Pradesh.
Why this move was made
The move is aimed at ending several practices which are discriminatory in nature and by doing so would surely push the progress of the state forward. The budget for the state proposes an expenditure amounting to a total of about Rs.1.57 lakh crore. This is a marked increase over the previous budget for the fiscal year 2016-2017 by a factor of 15.7%. The motivation behind this increase in spending was made clear by both the government as well as the state’s finance minister in their statements which surrounded the introduction of the financial report in the state assembly. The Finance Minister of the state also went on to mention the existence of a provision amounting to 500 crore rupees which has been set aside as an ‘assistance’ fund to support the unemployed youth of the state. However he failed to specify whether this was the anticipated allowance for unemployment for the coming year going forward, and if this is the case, it is a worrying thought indeed.
There has also been a provision made in the budget of about 20 lakh crore rupees which has been earmarked for the general education sector as well as a substantial amount of 765 crore rupees which has been set aside for education in the technical fields in Andhra Pradesh. Rural development has been given a total of almost twenty thousand crore rupees, and also about twelve thousand crore rupees which has been said to be marked out of flood and irrigation control in the state. All of these have been serious issues in the newly carved state of Andhra Pradesh since it had separated to give rise to Telangana. The state’s government has clearly sought to silence all worries regarding what it intends to do about the crisis of education and equality which has gripped the region for some time now.
The finance minister had also expressed the tremendous financial stress that has engulfed the state ever since having to move its capital to Amaravati and having to deal with the fallout of demonetization. However, reports and insights from the state tend to show that the region is on the path to bounce back, through clever reforms and policies. The proposed budget is also a good indicator of the same.