BHUBANESWAR: With general elections only some months away, finance minister Sashi Bhusan Behera today presented Rs 1,20,028 crore budget for 2018-19 in the assembly which is 12.3 percent
more than last year's outlay with a focus on investment, development and welfare schemes.
For the first time, Rs 62,000 crore has been provided in the budget, which is likely to be the last full fledged budget before the next elections, for programme expenditure. The state government also
placed a separate agriculture budget by substantially enhancing the allocation for agriculture and allied sectors to Rs 16,765 crore.
However, the highest allocation of Rs 19,678 crore has been made for education and skill development sector with provision of Rs 1800 crore for Sarba Sikhya Abhiyan, Rs 808 crore for Midday meal scheme
and Rs 500 crore for Rashtriya Madhyamika Sikhya Abhiyan. Besides, Rs 309 crore has also been allocated under the Gangadhar Meher Sikhya Manakbrudhi Yojana (GMSMY) for providing free school bags to all children from Class-I to V, free text books and school uniform including shoes to all children from class-I to VII and free bicycles to all students reading in class-IX of government and government aided schools, sanskrit tols and madrasas.
While allocation of Rs 6160 crore has been made for the health sector with several schemes including Niramaya, Khushi and Mukhyamantri Chakshyu Jatna Karyakrama in focus, investment of about Rs 3000 crore has been proposed for piped water supply projects. The finance minister said a roadmap for providing piped water supply to citizens in all streets and all wards of 113 urban local bodies with 546 projects with an investment of Rs 591 crore has been prepared. Besides, allocation of Rs 1000 crore for rural water supply and Rs 350 crore for urban water supply has been made under the Buxi Jagabandhu Assured Water Supply to Habitations (BASUDHA) schemes which was launched last year to commemorate the bi-centenary year of Paika Bidroha.
Stating that the government is also employing resources other than allocated in the budget for taking up water supply projects, Behera said that a project will be launched for 645 villages in seven districts with an estimated cost of Rs 550 crore under the Fourth Finance Commission funds. Besides, Rs 509 crore has been provided towards operation and maintenance of water supply systems.
The finance minister announced allocation of Rs 3592 crore through convergence of Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) Gramin and Biju Pucca Ghar Yojana to complete 20 lakh pucca houses by the end of December, 2018 thereby moving towards fulfilling one of the major commitments of the government. Besides, Rs 400 crore was provided for construction of 20,000 dwelling units under beneficiary led construction and 5000 units under affordable housing and slum development components.
The new scheme announced by the finance minister include the 'Green Mahanadi Mission' to protect Mahanadi river for enhancing water availability and improve livelihood for which an allocation of `30
crore has been made for 2018-19. Behera made an allocation Rs 1250 crore fdor 'Ama Gaon Ama Bikash Yojana' to take up developmental activities based on feedback of people on the ground. He said that Rs 250 crore has also been provided for welfare of farmers, details of which will be worked out by the agriculture and farmers' welfare department.
Other highlights include allocation of Rs 1802 crore for Parbati Giri Mega Lift Irrigation Scheme, Rs 540 crore for deep bore well scheme, Rs 88 crore for umbrella scheme of white revolution for development of dairying and livestock management. While Rs 10,196.05 crore has been earmarked for water resources department, the home department has been alloted Rs 5274.39 crore. Besides, allocation of Rs 22,684 crore has been made for development of SCs and STs for identified schemes.
The finance minister said the budget will be financed mainly through revenue receipts of Rs 1,00,200 crore and borrowing and other receipts of Rs 19,678 crore. Total revenue receipts for 2018-19 include
state's share in central taxes for Rs 36,586 crore, state's own tax for Rs 28,550 crore, own non-tax revenue of Rs 10,300 crore and Rs 24,764 crore grants from the Centre.
Behera said while tax GSDP ratio for 2018-19 would be 6.44 percent, revenue surplus has been projected at 2.25 percent of the GSDP. Fiscal deficit has been kept within the prescribed limit of 3.5 percent of the GSDP, he said.