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The Uttar Pradesh government laid special emphasis on schemes related to farmer welfare in a Rs 5.5 lakh crore budget presented on Monday, along with nutrition of women and children, and extended social security to landless farmers and unorganised sector workers whose plight was laid bare during the migrant crisis, in what the CM called a budget that reflected an ‘Atmanirbhar Uttar Pradesh’.

Big budgetary allocations towards road and expressway construction and clean drinking water facilities were made for ongoing projects, ahead of next year’s assembly election, while also setting aside sufficient funds for the beautification and tourism facilities in Ayodhya and Varanasi.

The fifth budget by the current BJP government in the state, drafted on the theme of “inclusive development”, aimed at striking a balance between social welfare as well as infrastructure development and included new schemes amounting to Rs 27,598 crore. “The budget is aimed at improving ease of living by providing every home with water and electricity as well as every village with roads and digital connectivity, leading to an inclusive development of the state,” chief minister Yogi Adityanath said, adding that 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 schemes announced by the government for farmers, against the backdrop of farmers’ agitation against three central farm laws, included setting aside Ts 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.

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