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Union Budget leaves Andhra Pradesh high and dry

VIJAYAWADA: With no specific allocation to any of the ongoing or new projects, the State got a raw deal in the Union Budget 2019 presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in Parliament on Friday. The only allocation the State received was Rs 13 crore for the Central University in Anantapur apart from Rs 8 crore for tribal universities in both the Telugu states.

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While the State was expecting assistance for the ongoing Polavaram project and a mention of the assurances made in the AP Reorganisation Act, including setting up of an integrated steel plant at Kadapa, Dugarajapatnam port and several central institutions, apart from sanction of funds for Visakhapatnam and Vijayawada metro rail projects, the Union Budget did not touch any of them.

Apart from the meagre allocations to the two universities, no other institution in the State such as IIT, IIIT, NIT, IISER or IIM received any allocation.

While the main political parties minced no words in criticising the Centre for ignoring the State, the fuel price hike came as a shocker to the common man.

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Expressing disappointment, YSRC Parliamentary Party leader V Vijayasai Reddy said apart from the State’s share of Rs 34,000-35,000 crore from the Central pool of taxes, there was no specific allocation to Andhra Pradesh. “Every State gets its share from the Central pool and this is no big deal. There might be a slight increase in the share but it is not significant,’’ he said and added that not a single assurance made in the AP Reorganisation Act was touched upon in the Budget.

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Former chief minister and TDP supremo Naidu, too, expressed dissatisfaction with the Union Budget. He said that there was no mention of key issues such as Special Category Status to AP and implementation of the provisions in the AP State Reorganisation Act.

“Priority to welfare, agriculture, automobile and service sectors was reduced,” he commented. Speaking to TNIE, MLC KS Lakshman Rao said, “Though there is a little improvement in the overall allocations to the education sector, the allocations to the Central institutes in the State are very poor. Institutes like IIT, IIM, IIIT sanctioned in 2014 are still functioning in temporary campuses.”

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