In a landmark step, the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh will present a paperless annual budget for its term’s final year (2021-22), before the state Vidhan Sabha on Thursday.

The government, which will shortly complete its fourth year in office, is stated to be the first state government in the country to go for a paperless budget.

It is another matter that even though both expenditure and revenue of the state have been actually on the slide, yet the projections continue to be higher and higher in every successive year.

However, what has become the scoring point is not just the fact that the country’s most populous state has the biggest budget in comparison to any other state in the country, but also that for the first time in history, the projections of the budget will be available to every legislator with a click of the mouse on everyone’s iPad. The UP CM is understood to have taken a cue from the centre where Prime Minister Narendra Modi had taken major initiatives to introduce a paperless budget.

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Significantly, the state government made it a point to not only equip each of the 404 MLAs (Members of Legislative Assembly or Vidhan Sabha) and 100 MLCs (Members of the Legislative Council of Vidhan Parishad) with iPads, but also provide them 4-day training to use these. Every member was asked to purchase his iPad directly from the market, with a cap of Rs. 50,000 that would be reimbursed to them by the state government.

That will mark the end of the old era when piles of printed material were handed over to all members of both the houses as well as to the media covering the proceedings. The state’s finance department has developed an app through which the budgetary provisions would be made available to the media this time. The details would also be uploaded on the state legislature website, from where the common public would have easy access to the budget.

The budgetary provisions will also be made available on large LED screens, which have been specially installed the house to complement the budget speech to be read out by finance and parliamentary affairs minister Suresh Khanna tomorrow.

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It was the COVID-19 era that give huge fillip to E-governance in the state. According to an official spokesman, the UP chief minister was now all set to also start E-cabinet meetings in the state. “The day is not far when the proceedings of the state cabinet would also become paperless”, he added. Yogi Adityanath has often been heard emphasising on the need for more and more e-governance at the bureaucratic level too as he feels that it could go a long way in curbing corruption and reducing public interface with government offices and functionaries.

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