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Odisha’s Revenue-surplus Budget of Rs 1.39 Lakh Crore Lays Stress on Agriculture, Education

State finance minister Niranjan Pujari presented the budget, the first in the fifth term of the Patnaik government, saying that the 'balanced budget' reflects the state government’s commitments to the people’s aspirations.

Anand ST Das | News18.com

Updated:June 28, 2019, 10:30 PM IST
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Odisha’s Revenue-surplus Budget of Rs 1.39 Lakh Crore Lays Stress on Agriculture, Education
Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik and Finance Minister Niranjan Pujari with Budget documents in Bhubaneswar on Friday. (PTI)
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Bhubaneswar: Odisha’s Naveen Patnaik-led Biju Janata Dal (BJD) government on Friday presented a revenue-surplus Rs 1.39 crore budget for 2019-2020 focusing mainly on critical sectors such as agriculture, rural development and education.

State finance minister Niranjan Pujari presented the budget, the first in the fifth term of the Patnaik government, saying that the “balanced budget” reflects the state government’s commitments to the people’s aspirations. This year’s budget is about 15.8% higher than that of the last fiscal.

In keeping with a tradition started a few years ago, a separate budget was presented for agriculture. The government allocated Rs 20,714 crore for agriculture and allied services. This sum is 23.5% higher than last year’s allocation and accounts for 14.9% of the total outlay proposed for the current financial year.

The Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income Augmentation (KALIA), a progressive welfare scheme that aims to cover 75 lakh farmers, was allocated Rs 5,611 crore. The scheme applies to all small and marginal farmers as well as landless agricultural households and sharecroppers under its different components.

The rural development sector was allocated Rs 20,824 crore, and Rs 4,820 crore was provided for rural housing through the convergence of PMAY Gramin and Biju Pucca Ghar schemes. Rs 2,900 crore was allocated for Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna (PMGSY) for the construction of rural roads. Similarly, Rs 2,500 crore was earmarked for the rural component of the Swachh Bharat Mission.

The government allocated Rs 19,492 crore for the education and skill development sector. Of this, Rs 2,550 crore was proposed for Samagra Sikshya and Rs 844 crore for the Mid-Day Meal Scheme. Rs 190 crore was proposed for infrastructure development of technological universities and engineering colleges, engineering schools and polytechnics in the state. Rs 100 crore was proposed for Odisha Skill Development Project to bring up a World Skill Centre in the state and upgrade the ITIs and polytechnics.

The Budget proposed an allocation of Rs 17,809 crore for the infrastructure sector, with Rs 1,300 crore to be provided to the Road Development Programme for construction and upgrade of roads. Rs 350 crore was proposed for the State Capital Region Improvement of Power System (SCRIPS) to provide 24x7 stable power supply. Rs 500 crore was proposed for Biju Setu Yojana for construction of bridges.

For public healthcare, the government allocated Rs 6,783 crore. The proposed investment for piped drinking water is Rs 5,000 crore, for urban development Rs 5,579 crore, and for irrigation sector Rs 9,713 crore. Rs 2,442 crore was allocated for empowerment of women.

The revenue surplus projected in the budget is at 1.21% of the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP), and fiscal deficit has been kept within the prescribed limit of 3.49% of the GSDP, said Pujari.

“The aspirations of the people of Odisha have been reflected in the Budget. Two of the major manifesto promises were to expand KALIA and include all eligible farmers, landless labourers and sharecroppers, and to provide health cover to women up to Rs 10 lakh. Both these promises have been fulfilled,” said Patnaik.

The Opposition parties, however, remained unimpressed. Leader of the Opposition Pradipta Nayak of the BJP said the Budget “lacks vision and has nothing for the common people”.

“The state government’s own incomes amount to only Rs 45,000 crore. They will have to depend on the Centre or take loans for other expenses. So, this budget is totally disappointing. It has nothing innovative or game-changing for the poor and the middle classes,” said Narasingha Mishra, legislature party leader of the Congress.

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