The 2018-19 Budget is a multi-faceted and multi-targeted one. It opens up a future trajectory. Apart from the Budget having a long-term developmental orientation, it is one which intensifies the welfare programmes started earlier. There is significant emphasis given to the public sector and KSRTC.
Financial restructuring of KSRTC has been well thought out. Further, most of the public sector enterprises have started making profits because enough money was pumped into them in the last Budget.
LIFE project has been accorded great emphasis in this Budget and so it gives a fillip to sunrise industries. Another area which figures prominently is the disability sector.
A boom in IT sector is expected and the Budget has given enough emphasis for skill development via gender park. Gender park is not as was envisaged earlier. It intends to develop capacity, provide training and production and so forth. Further, the gender allocation, which was 11 per cent, has been increased to 14 and this is a welcome move.
The state is already under fiscal discipline owing to the Fiscal Responsibility Act. Through KIIFB the state is exercising its political sovereignty. With the implementation of GST, we have lost the political sovereignty to exercise freedom on our own people in fixing the tax rates.
In that light, the activities of KIIFB should be seen as an innovative form of political power. It is an exercise of a new form of political power whereby we are able to mobilise resources outside the Budget. As such long-term development is feasible.
Though it hasn’t been mentioned that there will be a blue economy mission, the overall policy framework with respect to fisheries would amount to it.The writer is member of State Planning Board.