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Budget addresses "real things": AP finance minister

Budget addresses "real things": AP finance minister

Amaravati, Feb 1 (PTI) Andhra Pradesh Finance Minister Yanamala Ramakrishnudu today welcomed the Union Budget 2018-19 saying it "addressed the real things" with more focus on the rural economy and the agriculture sector.

He, however, was "not happy" that Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley did not touch upon issues related to Andhra Pradesh, in the budget speech.

Asked if the budget was an indicator of early elections, he remarked, "May be."

"We dont know whats in their minds," he said.

Addressing at a press conference in the state secretariat, Ramakrishnudu said, "Call it an election budget or anything else, but we are happy they are addressing the real things."

He said the agriculture sector has been given top priority in the budget and "there is more concentration on the rural economy and the health sector."

"The budget needs to be welcomed," he said.

He, however, said Jaitley "did not touch our state in the budget speech."

"Unless we read the various budget volumes, we will not know how much we will get under different schemes," Ramakrishnudu said.

He said overall, there are many welcome features in the Union Budget.

"It supports the farming sector since ours is an agro-economy and farmers are in distress. The budget will address this," he pointed out.

He said there was also focus on improving the rural connectivity while creation of long-term irrigation fund was another welcome feature.

"Another significant feature is the thrust sought to be given to the micro, small and medium enterprises sector. That is very much required since the MSMEs are in a bad shape. Even in AP, 6,000 MSMEs are in doldrums and need to be revived," the state finance minister said.

The Bharat Mala and Coastal Corridor projects would benefit the state as well, he added.

Speaking on the state-specific issues, Ramakrishnudu regretted that the Union minister did not make any mention of the two Metro rail projects proposed in AP (at Visakhapatnam and Vijayawada).

There was no announcement on setting up a new railway zone at Visakhapatnam.

"Its a policy decision to be taken but it is disappointing that no announcement has been made on this," the minister observed. PTI DBV GK