Naveen Patnaik Concerned about Cuts in Outlays for MGNREGS, SC-ST Schemes; Odisha Industry Bodies Hail Budget
The BJD chief welcomed the higher allocation for railway projects and said he hoped the ongoing and proposed projects in the state would get adequate allocation and be fast-tracked.
File picture of Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik.
Bhubaneswar: While appreciating the central government’s medium to long-term vision as expressed in the Union Budget as “good for the country”, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Friday expressed concern about the cuts in the outlays for the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) and schemes for Scheduled Tribes (ST) and Scheduled Castes (SC).
“While I welcome higher allocation for sectors like health, education, skill development, drinking water, livelihood mission, and women and child development, the decreased allocation for MGNREGS, core schemes for SC, ST and other vulnerable groups, and pension under National Social Assistance Scheme (NSAP) is a cause for concern,” said Patnaik.
The Biju Janata Dal (BJD) supremo, who returned to power in the coastal state for a record fifth term, welcomed the higher allocation for railway projects and said he hoped the ongoing and proposed projects in the state would get adequate allocation and be fast-tracked.
“The Union budget also lays emphasis on rural connectivity through Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY), housing through Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY), and Swachh Bharat Mission. However, these need to be backed by allocation of funds,” he said.
Patnaik said he had hoped that the Centre would enhance the quantum of assistance to farmers under the PM-Kisan scheme at par with the state's Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income Augmentation (KALIA) scheme launched last year. “Landless labourers and share-croppers should also have been included in its fold,” he said.
The imposition of cess and surcharges by the central government, which remain outside the divisible pool, further reduces the resources available to the states, he added.
Industry bodies in Odisha hailed the Budget, particularly praising its vision and provisions for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). “This Budget is admirable as it lays emphasis on MSMEs, start-ups, defence manufacturing, automobiles, electronics, and medical devices under the Make in India initiative. It is a balanced Budget,” said Utkal Chamber of Commerce and Industries (UCCI) president Ramesh Mahapatra.
“This is overall a small businessman’s Budget. As expected, it has given importance to MSMEs, industry, and Make in India. Quarterly filing of GST for small business owners is a big relief. A 2% interest subvention is also a good step to support the MSME sector,” said Satwik Swain, secretary general of Odisha Assembly of Small and Medium Enterprises (OASME).
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