From focusing on the empowerment of women to a boost for infrastructure, the Uttar Pradesh budget this year was focused on bringing the state out of the crisis cause by Covid-19. In an interview with CNN-News18, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has said that its primary focus was the common man, farmers, youth and women.

On the boost for health infrastructure in the budget, he said, “I don’t want patients from the state to go out of Uttar Pradesh for their treatment and keeping that in mind, we have boosted our health infrastructure.”

Highlighting allocations in the budget for women, Adityanath said, “For women empowerment, Rs 1,200 crore has been allotted for the Mukhya Mantri Kanya Sumangal Scheme. We have made provision of Rs 200 crore for the ‘Mahila Samarthya Yojana.’ “

Also read: Doubling Farmers’ Income, Cow Shelters & Focus on Empowering Women: All About UP Budget 2021

Excerpts from the interview:

What is the focus of your budget this year?

In our biggest ever budget of Rs. 5.5 lakh crore and first paperless budget has handed down a budget designed to pull the state out of the most severe global economic crisis due to Covid-19 and ensure holistic development of the state. Despite difficulties faced last financial year in meeting revenue targets due to Covid-19, the state was able to limit its fiscal deficit to 4.1%. The budget was higher than last year’s budgetary estimates by 7.3%. The budget aims to totally transform the ease of living and ease of doing business in the state thus, staying true to the theme of this year’s budget which is and ensure ‘Empowerment Through Self-Reliance’.

With ‘Sabka Saath Sabka Vishwas’, the budget is aimed at improving ease of living by providing every home and farm with water and electricity as well as every village with roads and digital connectivity, leading to an inclusive development of the state and making it ‘Atmanirbhar’. It is primarily focused on the common man, farmers, youth, women, and industrialists.

The state has contained Covid-19 to a great extent. How did it happen? Is that the reason, the state is focused on boosting the health infrastructure?

Uttar Pradesh has globally been lauded for the containment of the virus. WHO also praised our exemplary efforts to contain the virus. UP has a population of 24 crore and it was a herculean task for us to manage the spread of Covid-19. Not only did we manage to keep the numbers down but also facilitated the movement of 40 lakh migrants. As many as 1,660 trains were run to bring in migrants from various places.

Uttar Pradesh is currently leading when it comes to vaccination and has so far inoculated 11 lakh healthcare workers. A sum of Rs 50 crore has been set aside for the Covid vaccination programme as the vaccination drive will enter its next phase in a few days.

I don’t want patients from the state to go out of Uttar Pradesh for their treatment and keeping that in mind, we have boosted our health infrastructure and in the budget have made a provision of Rs 12,242 crore for strengthening medical and health infrastructure. While Rs 5,085 crore have been provided for the construction of medical colleges in as many as 39 districts and creating diagnostic infrastructure for primary healthcare facilities, Rs 7,157 crore has been allocated for various health schemes, including Rs 5,395 crore for Rashtriya Gramin Swasthya Mission, Rs 1,300 crore for Ayushman Bharat Yojana, Rs 142 crore for Ayushman Bharat Mukhyamantri Jan Arogya Yojana and Rs 320 crore made for Pradhanmantri Matritva Vandana Yojana.

Lucknow will also soon get a bio safety level-4 lab under the Institute of Virology and Infectious Diseases.

Also you said the budget is focused women’s, youth and farmers. How do you plan to achieve the same? Because this is an issue .

Our government is working relentlessly towards empowering women, youth and farmers in the state.

For women empowerment, Rs 1,200 crore has been allotted for the Mukhya Mantri Kanya Sumangal Scheme. We have made provision of Rs 200 crore for the ‘Mahila Samarthya Yojana.’ Rs 32 crore has been earmarked for the establishment of Women Power Centres and fund of Rs 100 crore has been created for tackling malnutrition in women and children under ‘Mukhya mantri Saksham Suraksha Yojana.’

Youth are the future of our state. We will provide free tablets for students under ‘Mukhya Mantri Abhyudan Yojana,’ for free exam coaching for and setting up of model career centres in 12 districts. Free hostels for poor students in Sanskrit school and have allotted Rs 25 crore for stadiums, gyms in villages and Rs 20 crore for Sports University in Meerut.

Since I entered the office in 2017, farmers have been the priority of our government. An outlay of Rs 100 crore has been earmarked for “Atma Nirbhar Krishak Samanvit Vikas Yojna” to double farmers’ income by 2022.The budget has set aside Rs 600 crore for expanding the scope of the accidental death insurance cover of Rs 5 lakh beyond farmers to include the death of an earning member of their family and to benefit small landless farmers and bataidars or sharecroppers. Those farmers who are not covered under the Ayushman Yojana of the Centre will now be covered under the CM Jan Arogya scheme. The budget also provides Rs 700 crore for a free water scheme for farmers and Rs 400 crore for crop loans. Farmers would also get a big amount from Rs 3,100 crore earmarked for pension yojana. A target of setting up 15 thousand solar pumps in the financial year 2021-22 has been fixed.

A target has been fixed for food grain production of 644 lakh MT and oil seeds production of 13 lakh MT in the financial year 2021-2022. We will also be establishing a new Krishi Vigyan Kendra for disseminating information about farming.

In the sector of cane development and sugar industry, distillation of 120 kilolitres per day capacity will be established in Pipraich sugar mill which will start in December 2021. There will be a facility to manufacture ethanol. Pipraich sugar mill will be the first sugar mill in North India to manufacture ethanol directly from sugarcane juice.

Infrastructure and boosting connectivity has received a major push. Why?

Uttar Pradesh in the past four years has undergone rapid industrial and infrastructural transformation and we aim to continue the momentum.

The budget has provisioned Rs 10,650 crore for various expressways and Rs 3,450 crore has been allocated for the three under-construction expressways in the state — Rs 1,492 crore for the 296-km long Bundelkhand Expressway, Rs 1,107 crore for the 340-km long Purvanchal Expressway and Rs 870 crore for the 91-km long Gorakhpur Link Expressway, the government has also allocated a whopping Rs 7,200 crore for the land acquisition of the 594-km long Ganga Expressway project and Rs 489 crore for its construction work.

To improve air connectivity and boost tourism, our government has allocated over Rs 2,100 crore for airports in the state. While Rs 2,000 crore has been allocated for the international airport in Jewar, Rs 101 crore has been provisioned for the expansion of the airport in Ayodhya.

The other allocations for infrastructure projects include Rs 597 crore for Kanpur Metro Rail Project, `478 crore for Agra Metro Rail project and Rs 1,326 crore for the Delhi-Ghaziabad-Meerut RRTS corridor. A provision of Rs 100 crore has also been proposed for the metro rail project in Varanasi and Gorakhpur.

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