Lucknow: Two pet projects of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav got a quiet burial Friday as no funds were allotted for his ambitious free laptop scheme for class 12 pass out students as also for paying unemployment allowance, in the 2014-15 state budget presented by him here.
Talking to media persons later, Yadav said that the focus of the government was now on infrastructure development.
Dodging questions on why the ambitious schemes that helped him win the state assembly elections in 2012 were shelved, the 41-year-old chief minister said the government was alive to the educational needs of the state and had introduced other schemes like e-books and e-library.
Sources said the national leadership of the Samajwadi Party (SP) led by party president Mulayam Singh Yadav had vetoed any extension of Akhilesh Yadav's laptop scheme.
They felt the schemes had failed to pay electoral dividends as the party won just five of the 80 Lok Sabha seats in the state.
Free laptops had been distributed to lakhs of students in the state over the past two years and the scheme was tom-tommed by Yadav in all his speeches and events.
No funds have also been allocated for the unemployment dole and "Kanya Vidyadhan" being given to girls for higher studies.
The chief minister said the unemployment allowance scheme was being replaced by a much larger Samajwadi Pension scheme that will benefit about 40 lakh families with an annual income of less than Rs.36,000.
In a Rs.2.74-lakh crore third budget, the chief minister who also holds the finance portfolio, said the budget allocations were 34 percent higher than in the previous financial year.
Rs.2,424 crore has been earmarked for the Samajwadi pension scheme, while Rs.41,358 crore has been kept for education sector.
Rs.7,625 crore has been allotted to the agriculture sector and Rs.23,928 crore has been marked to fire up the power sector.
The state government has also given Rs.12,400 crore for law and order and modernization of the police force and Rs.359 crore for building toilets in villages in the state.
The Poorvanchal region, from where both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav have been elected, has been allocated Rs.291 crore for various projects while Bundelkhand has been given Rs.758 crore.
Budgetary provisions have also been made for Metro rail expansion in Ghaziabad and starting the Metro rail project in Lucknow.
Akhilesh Yadav said the state government was committed to improving infrastructure and hence Rs.3,280 crore has been marked for the eight-lane expressway between Agra and Lucknow. A sum of Rs.1,500 crore has been allocated for the Lohia Grameen Awaas Yojna and Rs.1,598 crore for rural water supply.
Three ghats along the bank of the Ganges river - Malviya ghat, Raj Narayan ghat and Lohia ghat - will be constructed in Varanasi at a cost of Rs.30 crore.
For projects to improve water supply in Agra Rs.300 has been allocated, while Rs.4,000 crore has been given to pay the arrears due to cane growers.
"We are now focussing on sadak (road), sinchai (irrigation) and urja (energy) as our core areas of focus," Yadav said after presenting the budget.