BHUBANESWAR:Alleging that an attempt has been made in the 2018-19 annual budget to garner votes by making provisions for different schemes ahead of the general elections next year, Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) president Prasad Harichandan questioned allocation of Rs 1,250 crore under the ‘Ama Gaon, Ama Bikash’ scheme when funds from 14th Finance Commission and 4th State Finance Commission for rural development are yet to spent.
Stating that funds under the ‘Ama Gaon, Ama Bikash’ scheme will be misappropriated, Harichandan said Biju Sasaskti Karan Yojana and Biju Vahini are meant to benefit only ruling BJD workers.Referring to allocations of Rs 500 crore and Rs 250 crore made for women and farmers’ welfare in the budget, Harichandan said details on how to spend the provisions are yet to be worked out.
Stating that allocations have been made in the budget without schemes, he described the budget as anti-farmer as no assurance has been given for loan waiver, bonus on paddy or pension to farmers.
Alleging that the economy of the State is getting worse, Harichandan said the growth rate which was 10.4 per cent in 2016-17 has come down to 7.14 per cent in 2018-19. “How can it be said that the State’s economy has improved,” he said.
Stating that no steps have been announced in the budget to tackle the growing unemployment problem, Harichandan said the budget has disappointed the youth. Steps have also been announced to work towards eradicating regional imbalance in the State, he said.State secretary of the BJD Bijay Nayak, however, described the budget as growth oriented with provisions for all sections in the society.
Stating that the focus of the budget is on education, skill development, health services and investment for rural development, including drinking water projects, Nayak said steps have also been announced for further empowerment of women.Describing the budget as pro-people and pro-poor, the BJD leader said allocation under agriculture budget has increased by 130 per cent to Rs 16,765 crore.