PATNA: Education and the rural sector got top priority in Bihar’s Rs 2,00,501 crore revenue-surplus budget for 2019-20 presented by deputy chief minister-cum-finance minister Sushil Kumar Modi in the state legislature on Tuesday amid chanting of anti-government slogans by the Opposition legislators.
Modi, who refrained from making any big-bang announcement of schemes, pointed out that the size of the budget, his tenth so far, is nine times higher than in 2004-05, the last year of the 15-year RJD rule in the state. The budget expenditure estimated for 2019-20 is Rs 23,510 crore more than the Rs 1,76,990 crore budget for 2018-19.
The education sector was allocated the largest amount of funds – Rs 20,309 crore (20.31 per cent of total outlay) – followed by Rs 15,814 crore (15.81 per cent) for rural development, Rs 9,896 crore (9.9 per cent) for rural works and Rs 5,936 crore (5.94 per cent) for road construction.
The flagship education schemes of the Nitish Kumar-led NDA government such as bicycles for schoolgirls and financial incentives for girls who pass intermediate and graduation examinations got major funding push. Rs 14,352 crore was allocated for Sarv Sikhsa Abhiyan and Rs 2,374 crore for mid-day meals.
Other departments that got major allocation of funds are social welfare (Rs 6,997 crore), health (Rs 5,149 crore) and energy (Rs 4,583 crore).
The state’s revenue surplus for 2019-20 is Rs 21,516 crore, which the government plans to use for investment in creating physical infrastructure to give further push to the economy. Establishment and commitment expenditure for 2019-20 is estimated ar Rs 99,110 crore, which is Rs 14,437 crore more than in 2018-19.
The budget estimates the total revenue receipt in 2019-20 at Rs 1.76 lakh crore, which is composed of Rs 1.38 lakh crore of revenue received from the central government, Rs 38,606 crore of the state’s own tax and non-tax revenue. The total revenue receipt estimated is Rs 18,696 crore more than that in the previous fiscal.
Modi punctuated his budget speech with lines of Hindi poetry in an effort to persuade the Opposition RJD, Congress and Left legislators to acknowledge the rapid progress taking place in Bihar under the NDA government. “This budget is development oriented and aims at the best possible welfare of citizens,” he said later.
“The government is making tall claims of development and good governance, but rising crime and unemployment are making a mockery of the budget,” said former chief minister Rabri Devi of RJD. State Congress president Madan Mohan Jha dubbed the budget as a “maze of numerical figures” and attacked the government for “not taking solid steps towards industrialization and employment generation”.