RAIPUR: The Bhupesh Baghel government on Monday presented the last budget of the outgoing Assembly, highlighting its motto ‘Gadhbo Nava Chhattisgarh’ (build a new Chhattisgarh).
Chief minister Bhupesh Baghel, who also holds the finance portfolio, kept the agriculture and rural sector in mind even as he announced unemployment allowance for the jobless educated youth in the state. He termed the budget as ‘Bharose ka Budget’.
For the financial year 2023-24, the total outlay is Rs 121,501 crore, 16.83 per cent more than that estimated budget receipts of last year. The budget has provisions of Rs 6,800 crore for flagship scheme Rajiv Gandhi Kisan Nyay Yojana which, Baghel says, has turned Chhattisgarh, known as ‘Dhaan Ka Katora’. (rice bowl) to the ‘Dhan Ka Katora’ (money bowl).
There is no fresh tax proposal for the upcoming financial year. On the lines of the BJP-led Centre, the Congress government in Chhattisgarh will organise the ‘International Ramayana Festival’ every year and the budget has earmarked Rs 12 crore for the event.
A new scheme will be launched to provide an ‘unemployment allowance’ of Rs 2,500 per month, with a Budget provision for Rs 250 crore. Giving a monthly allowance to the unemployed youth was one of the key pledges that the Congress party made ahead of the 2018 Assembly polls.
“I have attempted to incorporate most of the demands and feedback gathered during my ongoing public interaction (Bhent-Mulakat) statewide tour covering the 90-Assembly constituencies,” said Baghel.
In an election year, the budget talks about increasing the income of farmers, agricultural labourers, economically weaker sections, overall development of villagers, unprecedented expansion of health and medical facilities, besides the creation of new opportunities of employment entrepreneurship through quality training to youth and multi-dimensional development of rural and urban infrastructure.
BJP national vice-president and former CM Raman Singh dubbed the new budget as “deceptive and farce” keeping an eye on the forthcoming polls. Attacking the Baghel government, he said the promises made in the Congress manifesto have been ignored.
Baghel announced a provision of Rs 1,000 crore for various infrastructure construction works in urban areas. He claimed that owing to prudent fiscal management practices during the last three years, the state has not yet taken market loans in 2022-23 and the state’s own revenue is estimated to increase by 26 per cent.
Among the departments, the school education department gets the highest allocation at Rs 19,489 crore, followed by Rs 10,329 crore for panchayat and rural development, and Rs 10,070 crore for agriculture development and farmers’ welfare.
The budget laid a provision of Rs 25 crore for organising Chhattisgarhiya Olympics based on traditional sports and games. Under the school education and higher education, provision of Rs 400 crore is made for World Bank funded CHALK while Rs 500 crore is earmarked for Mukhyamantri School Jatan Yojana.