RANCHI: Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel on Friday presented his maiden budget with a focus on farmers, rural development, agriculture and the poor. With the Lok Sabha elections turning the corner, Baghel, who also holds the finance portfolio, is looking to continue accomplishing the party’s pre-Assembly poll declarations with a total Budget outlay of `91,542 crore for the 2019-20 financial year.
“We are committed to fulfil the promises our party has committed to the people. In the budget, the focus is mostly on rural infrastructure with maximum emphasis on farmers and the rural economy. My government also stresses on health, education, poor and youngsters,” affirmed the chief minister. The budget incorporated allocations for populist declarations like `4,000 crore for the provision of 35 kg of rice to every below poverty line (BPL) family under the ‘Mukhyamantri Khadhyaan Sahayta Yojana’ (which was launched by the erstwhile Raman Singh government).
The MLA local area development scheme fund has been enhanced from `1 crore to `2 crore annually and allocations have been made for the construction of multi and super speciality hospitals and more primary, community and sub- health centres under the universal health care facility. A provision of `1,542 crore has been allocated as the state share towards the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Gurantee scheme (MNREGA) and `1,723 crore has been set aside for the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana for rural families.
According to estimates, the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) for 2018-19 is likely to grow to 6.08 per cent on constant prices while the national GDP is likely to grow to 7.2 percent during the same duration. For agriculture, a provision of `21,597 crore has been earmarked with the CM declaring that irrigation tax worth `207 crore would be waived off for 15 lakh farmers. The minimum support price for paddy was fixed at `2,500 per quintal and he stated the loan waivers would benefit around 20 lakh farmers and would cost `10,000 crore.
“Our government will launch the Suraji Gaon Yojana to strengthen the rural economy,” the CM said. A provision of `2,164 crore has been made for free power. The budget also speaks of promoting local industries and emphasises a cut on unnecessary spending.
An amount of `396 crore been earmarked for smart cities and five mega food parks.
The opposition cited the budget as directionless and lacklustre. “The vast majority of people would be disenchanted with the budget as it has virtually nothing for the middle class, women, ensuring employment. The budget will put the state into reverse gear,” said senior BJP legislator Brijmohan Agrawal.