A striking feature of the State’s economic performance is that its growth rate has consistently been higher than that of the country.
In 2017-18, when the State registered a growth of 10.2 per cent, the all India growth rate was 7.2 per cent (constant prices). The growth rate of the State in 2018-19 was 10.5 per cent, whereas that of the country was 6.8 per cent (constant prices).
In current prices, the growth rate of the State for 2018-19 is 14.3 per cent and that of the country is 11.2 per cent. The same goes for 2019-20; the State registered a growth of 12.5 per cent, while the country registered 7.5 per cent.
For the growth and development of the State, expenditure in both the production and welfare sectors is vital. Historically, the State has had low human capital formation in terms of health, nutrition, literacy, education and so on.
This is more so in the case of socio-economically backward groups which constitute 85 per cent of the population. It is in this context that the State government has begun allocating significant share of annual budgets to welfare programmes like pensions, housing, and so on. This also enables purchasing power in the rural areas.
Allocation of funds for SC and ST in proportion to the population and in accordance with the SC, ST Special Development Fund Act has been yielding positive results. While programmes like Kalyana Lakshmi have contributed to curtailing child marriage, residential schools and colleges targeted at various social groups have helped in retaining girls in education, especially at higher levels. The present Budget allocated around Rs 40,000 crore to welfare, constituting around 22 per cent of the expenditure.
(The writer is Director, Centre for Economic and Social Studies)