The Adityanath government is about to complete one year in office. However, perhaps as a result of his disproportionate preoccupation with law and order issues, the state government is yet to unveil a strategy to address issues plaguing Uttar Pradesh such as infrastructural bottlenecks, chronic power shortages, broken healthcare and education systems, and unemployment.
Nor has the Adityanath government outlined a solid roadmap to bring down the state’s high debt, which stands at a staggering nearly 30% of state GDP.
The state went to town recently while hosting an investors’ summit in Lucknow. Investment commitments worth Rs 4.28 lakh crore were made by investors who attended the summit. But given the dismal track record of such pledges translating into investment elsewhere, it is difficult to say if the summit will bear fruit. Media reports have already noted how one investment proposal worth Rs 90,000 crore was an apparent hoax, while the Adityanath government is currently carrying out a debt profile check of companies that promised investments to check their seriousness.
In the budget 2018-19, the state government has allocated Rs 27,5750 crore for the energy sector. However, out of the proposed allocation, nearly 62% will go towards meeting interest and subsidy liabilities. Only 38% will be available for capital expenditure. As The Wire has reported, his government’s farm loan waiver – which in turn suffered from serious flaws, has crimped capital expenditure for police services, public construction and, ironically, various agriculture-associated sectors.
The latest UP budget has not envisaged any big project in the power sector despite the state continuing to face electricity shortages. Uttar Pradesh’s erratic power supply is unlikely to attract investors.
The state budget has allocated Rs 17,615.29 crore, 22% more than the previous year – to construct new roads and improve connectivity. However, fund allocation alone may not help expedite the implementation of road projects in the state, many of which are stuck due to problems of land acquisition and other issues.
The state has hiked allocation for education by nearly 11% to Rs 63,213 crore.
Of this, Rs 50,142 crore has to be spent on primary education, Rs 9,387 crore on secondary education and the balance Rs 2,656 crore on higher education. However, if past experience is anything to go by, a hike in fund allocation alone cannot improve the quality of primary education in the state.>