Chhattisgarh budget's focus on GYAN will rejuvenate more than 70% of the state’s population. The infrastructure push will have a spillover effect on socio-economic development and large-scale industrial investments. The state is poised to double incomes in the next five years.
The budget focuses on ten pillars: Economic Development: Gareeb, Yuva, Anndata & Naari (GYAN), rapid economic growth through technology driven reforms governance, maximum capital expenditure, optimum utilization of natural resources, emphasis on new possibilities of service sector of the economy, ensuring private investments, focus on Bastar-Surguja, Decentralized Development Pockets (DDP), promoting Chhattisgarhi culture and importance of implementation.
Considering the socio-economic patterns and past downturns, the state has very rightly focussed on Gareeb, Yuva, Anndata and Naari (GYAN), which will cover more than 70% of the state’s population. GYAN has become popular for the socio-economic development of India. The Interim Budget of the Central Government for 2024-25 has a significant focus on GYAN. The Chhattisgarh government has also followed suit.
To support the GYAN segments of the states’ economy, the budget has announced numerous initiatives, including Rs 8369 crore for the Awas Yojana, Rs 10 thousand crore for the Krishi Unnati Yojana, with special attention to Bastar and Surguja regions for economic development, an annual Rs 12000 under Mahtari Vandan Yojana for eligible women, Udyam Kranti Yojana to provide self-employment to the youth and the establishment of Chhattisgarh Institutes of Technology, among others.
Focus on the use of Artificial Intelligence in governance and administration will speed up the economic growth trajectory of the state. The free ration for five years will help the poor in the multidimensional poverty, whereas Rs 10,000 crore to farmers will bring enhanced productivity of the farm sector and boost the aggregate demand in the state.
Chhattisgarh's budget is a comprehensive roadmap for doubling GDP while ensuring inclusive and sustainable economic growth. Chhattisgarh’s Viksit Yatra is paving the way for Viksit Bharat 2047. The Budget aims to double the state's GDP from Rs 5 lakh crore to Rs 10 lakh crore within five years and approximately double the incomes of the people of the state.
The capital expenditure of the state for FY 2024-25 is estimated to Rs 22,300 crore which is 15% of total budget and 20% higher than previous year budget. This is up from the last five years’ average Capital Expenditure of 12%. The budget allocates Rs 266 crore for technical enrichment, with a 20% boost in capital expenditure.
Under the Decentralized Development Process, various initiatives have been announced such as; Development of State Capital Region (SCR) around Raipur-Bhilai area for world class IT Sector, Wedding, Education & Health Destination, Livelihood Center of Excellence in Nava Raipur, Center of Entrepreneurship in Bhilai, along with focus on development of cities such as Raipur, Nava Raipur, Bilaspur, Durg, Bhilai, Ambikapur, Jagdalpur, Korba & Raigarh, etc. as “Growth Engine” and Special focus and encouragement to Agricultural & Rural Development, among others.
The budget has announced highly supportive strategic measures for the industrial sector to further enhance the ease of doing business, such as Provision of Rs. 5 crores for organizing Invest Chhattisgarh, “Plug & Play Model” for growth of IT industry & generation of IT employment in Nava Raipur, Industry Policy to be drafted focusing rich industry areas such as Korba, Janjgir, Raigarh, Urla, Siltara, etc.
Start-up incubation centers and IT Parks to be formed for promoting start up culture and other IT services in the state, ease of doing business, adoption of PPP model, minimum government and maximum governance, single window system and online permission have also been announced to boost the industrial development of the state.
The state is rich in natural resources and hence optimum utilization of Natural Resources is one of the pillars that the budget has focused on for the state’s holistic development, such as, preparation of Climate Action Plan for reduction in carbon emission in addition to encouragement to solar rooftop, e-Vehicles, adoption of Kusum Yojna, and development of Eco-tourism and Naturo-therapy centers in Bastar and Sarguja areas, among others.
The Economic Survey 2023-24 of the state highlights the agriculture and allied sector to contribute 15.32% in GSDP at constant prices in 2023-24. The manufacturing sector is projected to contribute 34.63% and the services sector is projected to contribute 31.19% in the GSDP during the same period. The state has advantages to create employment in manufacturing as a significant proportion of manufacturing contributes to the GSDP. At this juncture, more ease of doing business and efforts to reduce cost of doing business, including, Costs of capital, costs of power, costs of logistics, costs of land /availability of land, costs of labor/availability of skilled labor, and costs of compliance, will attract chunks of investments and create lakhs of employment opportunities for the growing young population.
In FY 2024-25, the Gross Fiscal Deficit of the state is estimated to Rs. 19,696 crores (including Rs. 3,400 crores of Special Assistance for Capital Expenditure by GoI). Hence, the Net Fiscal Deficit of the state is estimated to Rs. 16,296 crores which is 2.90% of GSDP. This is within the limit of 3% set in the FRBM Act. The benign fiscal scenario of the state will be lucrative destination for domestic and global investors to come and make in Chhattisgarh.
The Rs 1 lakh 47 thousand 500 crore Budget for the financial year 2024-25 is a vision document to transform Chhattisgarh from a developing to a developed state by 2047 which has been named “Amrit Kaal-Chhattisgarh Vision at 2047”.
(Views are personal.)
Dr SP Sharma is Chief Economist and Deputy Secretary General, PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry