Disorganized approach to policy, budget formulation in Andhra Pradesh, at least in handloom sector

By Umesh Babu and Antara Mukherjee*
Total Expenditure Budget of Andhra Pradesh has increased from Rs 1,56,999.40 crore in the year 2017-18 to Rs 1,91,063.61 crore; increase of Rs 34,064.21 crore (21.69%). It gives a better image and impression. To rely on the quality of budget formulation for policies implementation, we have taken the sample of Handloom Weavers, covered under the department “Handloom and Textiles”.
Total budget of Handloom and Textiles Department in the year 2018-19 is Rs 273.42 crore; an increase of Rs 42.18 crore over the budget Rs 231.25 crore of previous year 2017-18.

Important Observation of Schemes / Programs:

1. Indian Institute of Handloom Technology:
  • Salaries: Allocation in salary head for the institute has been reduced. In the year 2017-18 budget estimate was Rs 79.46 lakhs and in the year 2018-19 it is Rs 63.59 lakh. A decrease by Rs 15.87 lakh. It indicates that the institute might be gradually shut down. 
  • A new scheme ‘Other Administrative Expenses’ has been launched for the year 2018- 19 with financial allocation of Rs 200 lakh. Total budget for the institute in the year 2017-18 was Rs 137.09 lakhs and in the years 2018-19 it is Rs 308.99 lakhs. If we separate the allocated fund for the new scheme and compare the figures of allocation for the year 2018-19, it comes out to be 108.99 lakhs. Which means in the existing programs of the state, there is a reduction of Rs 28.01 lakhs. 
2. Interest Subsidy/Rebate Scheme: Budget for this scheme has been reduced from Rs 6.00 crore in the year 2017-18 to Rs 4.00 crore in the year 2018-19. It is important to note that the expenditure in the year 2016-17 was 4.64 crore, higher than the allocation of the current year.
3. Small Scale Industries (SI) clusters under the Package Scheme – Handlooms Cluster Development Programs: This scheme has been discontinued by the way of not allocating budget in two subsequent years i.e. 2017-18 and 2018-19. In the year 2016-17 expenditure under this scheme was Rs 25 crore.
4. Assistance for livelihood enhancement of weavers: Budget has been increased for this scheme under the head of “Other Grant-in- Aid” from Rs 23.42 crore in 2017-18 to Rs 200 crore in the year 2018-19, an increase by Rs 176.58 crore.
5. Assistance towards loan waiver to weavers: Allocation for this scheme is only Rs 1 lakh in both years 2017-18 and 2018-19.
6. Financial Assistance to Handloom and Textiles Promotion: Budget has been decreased from Rs 50 crore in year 2017-18 to Rs 25 crore in the year 2018-19. A decrease of Rs 25 crore.
7. Margin Money Assistance to APCO under NCDC Scheme: This scheme has been discontinued by way of not allocating budget in two subsequent years i.e. 2017-18 and 2018-19. In the year 2016-17 total expenditure was Rs 5 crore.
8. State share for Revival Reform and Restructuring package for Handloom Sector: Allocation for this scheme is only Rs 1 lakh in both years 2017-18 and 2018-19.
9. Cooperative Handloom Weavers Thrift Fund Scheme: Budget for the scheme is reduced from Rs 3.5 crore in 2017-18 to Rs 2.5 crore in the year 2018-19.
10. Subsidy on Purchase of Raw Material: Budget is increased from Rs 8 crore in 2017-18 to Rs 11 crore in the year 2018-19.
11. Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY): Budget is increased from Rs 6 crore in the year 2017-18 to Rs 15 crore in the year 2018-19. 12. Loan Assistance under NCDC Scheme: Budget is decreased from Rs 36.98 crore in the years 2017-18 to Rs 10.00 crore in the year 2018-19.

Remarks:

The overall scenario represents a disorganized approach in policy and budget formulation of the State, at least in handloom sector. The programs that have been working well have been abandoned by way of not allocating funds. Instead of correcting the lapses in existing programs formulation and implementation, new programs are launched to solve the problems. Practically, bureaucracy is not a complete mechanical instrument to adopt new program and in full swing and solve the existential problems of the weavers.
Politically, government can claim of increasing budget. Within these two propositions, chaos is created and public at large gets confused about who is wrong: politics, bureaucracy or the public. This state of confusion creates a situation for politicians to get away scot free and find several excuses for the persistent and consistent growth in poverty, suicides, debt trap, hunger death, etc. In one scheme there is an increase of Rs 176.58 crore and budget size becomes Rs 200 crore in the year 2018-19.
Total increase in departmental budget is Rs 42.18 crore. It means there are the several other smaller components where the budget is reduced and compromised with one scheme so that total budget of the department is in limit by a marginal increase of Rs 42.18 crore The schemes that have been reduced or brought to the point of closing down, will affect not only the weavers but also to State economy and bureaucratic infrastructure. Detailed enquiry of the budget and policies may give other sights or vision to get complete conclusion of the lapses in budget and policy formulation.
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*Delhi Solidarity Group

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