UP’s health, forest, PWD and minority welfare budgets slashed

Agriculture and police departments saw allocations increase, so did funds for Swachh Bharat Mission

Photo by Subhankar Chakraborty/Hindustan Times via Getty Images
Photo by Subhankar Chakraborty/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

Biswajeet Banerjee

When Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi quipped on Twitter that the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh (UP) might close hospitals to save money, he was not really off the mark. In fact, the BJP government in UP has actually slashed the medical and health budget that was presented in the state Assembly on July 11.

It is not just the health sector, the UP government has even slashed funding for PWD, forest and minority welfare departments.

Gandhi’s tweet came to the response of a news report claiming that Yogi Government has slashed budget of education department. A news agency had reported that budgetary allocation for primary and secondary departments have been reduced drastically. After the Congress national vice-president’s tweet, the Yogi government said that it has increased education budget by ₹12,559 crore.

But what Rahul Gandhi pointed out about the health sector is a fact. The last Akhilesh Yadav government had a budget of ₹13729 crore for the health and family welfare ministry but the Yogi Adityanath government has allocated ₹13692.94 crore for the same. This is ₹36 crore less than the previous budget.

The worst hit is PWD department whose budget has been slashed by almost ₹940 crore. In fiscal 2016-17, the budgetary allocation was ₹16610.79 crore while this fiscal it is ₹15670.17 crore.

Incidentally, PWD minister Keshav Prasad Maurya, who is also the Deputy Chief Minister, had promised that all roads of Uttar Pradesh would be made pothole-free by June 15 but till date, the government has failed to keep his word. On June 15, he himself admitted that only 63 per cent of the patchwork was completed. Even after a month after the deadline has elapsed, roads are full of potholes.

The minority welfare department is another casualty, dealing a body blow to PM Narendra Modi’s much-hyped doctrine of `Sab ka saath, sab ka vikas’. During the Akhilesh regime, this department had a budget of ₹3055.98 crore which has come down to ₹2475.61 crore, which is ₹630 crore less than that last year. Similarly, the budget for forest department has been slashed from ₹1357 crore to ₹980.28 crore.

But there are some departments whose allocations have gone up markedly. The leader in this pack is the agriculture department whose budget has been raised by ₹37910.76 crore, followed by police which saw a raise of ₹1089.96 crore. The allocation of Swachh Bharat Mission has got an increase by ₹2136 crore.

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Published: 19 Jul 2017, 5:10 PM