The Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh allocated Rs 447 crore for cow shelters on Thursday. Finance Minister Rajesh Agarwal, who presented the state budget for the 2019-’20 financial year, also earmarked Rs 459 crore for the modernisation of madrasas, The Indian Express reported.

The Bharatiya Janata Party government allocated Rs 247 crore for maintenance and construction of cow shelters in rural areas. Another Rs 200 crore was set aside for the Kanha Gaushala and Destitute Cattle Shelter Scheme in urban areas.

On January 1, the state cabinet approved a plan to set up temporary cattle shelter facilities in urban and rural areas for stray cows, and impose a “cow welfare cess” for the maintenance of these facilities.

The Uttar Pradesh budget, at an outlay of Rs 4.79 lakh crore, is 12% higher than the budget for 2018-’19.

The government allocated Rs 204 crore for modernisation of the police force, Rs 700 crore for the construction of 36 police stations, a similar amount for the construction of residential buildings for the police, and Rs 400 crore for building police lines in newly-created districts.

Chief Minister Adityanath said the budget was the biggest one in the state’s history. “The budget should be ‘lok kalyankari’ [welfare-oriented] rather than ‘lok lubhawan’ [populist],” he added.

The budget set aside Rs 200 crore for construction of residential and non-residential buildings in 57 fire stations across the state. The finance minister said the government expects a deficit of Rs 9,016 crore in 2019-’20, PTI reported.

Agarwal also announced the Kanya Sumangala Yojana – a scheme to “improve health and educational standards of girls, brighten their future and bring in a positive change in the thinking towards women”. The scheme is expected to cost Rs 1,200 crore.

The government earmarked Rs 3,194 crore for the construction of expressways and Rs 13,135 crore for laying roads in the state. It also allocated Rs 3,522 crore for the maintenance of roads and expressways by the Public Works Department.

The budget allocated Rs 2,100 crore for the construction and maintenance of bridges, Rs 850 crore for connecting villages and settlements through concrete link roads, and Rs 1,174 crore for widening and strengthening important interstate roads and roads along the international border. Rs 800 crore has been set aside to acquire land for the Jewar airport, which is coming up near the national capital.

The budget made allocations for Ayodhya, including Rs 200 crore for an airport and Rs 101 crore for the development of tourist spots in the city. The state government has also chosen Varanasi, Mathura and Allahabad as part of its focus on beautifying religious places.

‘Budget a betrayal of people’

The Opposition accused the government of presenting a “populist” budget.

“No matter how populist the budget might be in an election year, the year-round work related to people’s welfare and interest and control over law and order are important for the common people,” said Bahujan Samaj Party President Mayawati.

“And in these cases, the Centre, and especially the Uttar Pradesh government, has failed badly,” she said in another tweet. “The sins of government cannot be washed away by taking dips in the Sangam. The general public is intelligent and knows everything.”

Samajwadi Party President Akhilesh Yadav said the budget betrayed people in the name of “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas” and claimed it neither spoke of development nor had vision.

“The person running the government is a ‘sanyasi’ and ‘yogi’, who does not understand much,” said Yadav. “The budget neither has anything for ‘rajkosh’ [state exchequer] nor for ‘dharmkosh’ [religions affairs]. This budget will hardly get any marks from me.”

Congress spokesperson Ashok Singh said the financial plan was aimed at fooling the people of the state.