Odisha Budget: A Realistic Approach to Propell Growth With Social Justice

Bhubaneswar: Budget presentation is very often seen as one of the most important and anticipated events in a State’s calendar of events. The announcements made by the Finance Minister on the Budget day determine the common man’s household budget, and of course will lead to the welfare of the people as well as the growth of the economy at the same time.

In the year 1997, the then Finance Minister of India P Chidambaram presented the ‘Dream Budget’ for the country. It had such an impact on the country’s economy that it is still a subject of discussion. Similarly, Odisha Finance Minister Niranjan Pujari’s State Budget for the year 2019-20 presented in the Assembly on Friday is not only a Dream Budget but also a realistic and growth oriented one which is designed to meet the aspirations of the people.

The FM has presented a revenue surplus budget, pegging the outgo at Rs 1.39 trillion for 2019-20, an increase of 16 percent over FY19. The Budget seeks to strike a balance between fiscal prudence and funding a bevy of social security and welfare schemes, by restraining the fiscal deficit for FY20 at 3.49 per cent – within the limit of 3.5 per cent mandated under the Fiscal Responsibility & Budget Management (FRBM) Act.

Growth Oriented

Projecting economic growth of the state in the range of 8-8.5 percent, the Odisha government on Friday presented the annual budget of Rs 1.39 lakh crore for the 2019-20 fiscal.

Tabling the Budget Pujari said, the outlay is proposed to be financed by revenue receipts of Rs 1,15,266 crore and Rs 23,734 crore through borrowings and other receipts. The state’s own tax/GSDP ratio is pegged at 6.1 percent in 2019-20. The outstanding debt to GSDP ratio is estimated at 19.7 per cent at the end of FY20 which is below the FRBM limit of 25 percent. The budget outlay is split into total programme expenditure (Rs 74,600 crore) and administrative expenditure estimated at Rs 57,310 crore.

With a view to fulfilling the promises made in its manifesto before the 2019 elections, the state government Friday presented a Rs 20,714-crore agriculture Budget making provision for interest-free loans upto Rs 1 lakh for farmers and allocating Rs 5,611 crore for the flagship KALIA scheme.

The budget focuses on boosting agriculture productivity, expanding irrigation, improving health care, education and skill development and supply of drinking water, among others.

Aims at Growth with Social Justice

While Rs 23,760 crore have been allocated for development of SCs and STs, agriculture and allied sectors got a whopping Rs 20,714 crore.

Similarly, Rs 19,492 crore has been allocated for the education and skill sectors, while Rs 2,550 crore has been earmarked for the Sarba Sikhya Abhiyan and Rs 844 core for the mid-day meal scheme.

A sum of Rs 1,203 crore has been allocated for the Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana (BSKY) for 2019-20, Rs 1,365 crore for the National Health Mission and Rs 578 crore for the Mukhya Mantri Swasthya Seva Mission.

Under the housing segment, Rs 4,820 crore has been proposed for the convergence of the PMAY Gramin and Biju Pucca Ghar Yojana. For women and child development department, Rs 3,457 crore has been allocated for various schemes and programmes.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik hailed the budget and said the aspirations of the people of Odisha have been reflected in it.

Patnaik said major manifesto promises – expansion of KALIA scheme and inclusion of all eligible farmers, landless labourers and sharecroppers, and health cover for women up to Rs 10 lakh — have been fulfilled in the budget.

Overall the budget seems to have the ingredients of is a pro-farmer, pro-woman, pro-poor and growth oriented budget indeed.

Drinking Water on top of the Agenda

A higher outlay of Rs 2,740 crore has been proposed for rural water supply, and Rs 385 crore on urban water supply. The budget allocated Rs 2,500 crore for the rural component and Rs 300 crore for the urban component of Swachh Bharat Mission.

The state government proposed a budgetary allocation of Rs 1,028 crore for the Odisha Food Security Scheme. The Budget is bereft of any new tax and has made significant allocations for flagship schemes and other programmes – Madhubabu Pension Yojana (Rs 2,120 crore), MAMATA scheme Rs (305 crore), Samagra Sikhsya (Rs 2,250 crore), PradhanMantri Gram SadakYojana (Rs 2900 crore), Smart City Mission (Rs 400 crore), BijuKrushakYojana (Rs 420 crore), MukhyaMantriSwasthyaSeva Mission (Rs 578 crore) and AmaGaonAmaBikashYojana (Rs 400 crore) to name a few.

Agril Budget

Continuing its tradition since 2013-14, the Finance Minister presented an exclusive budget for agriculture with an outlay of Rs 20,714 crore for FY20. Besides the budgeted outlay, about Rs 8000 crore is being invested through extra budgetary resources every year to ensure timely payments to farmers for paddy procurement.

While presenting the agriculture Budget in the Assembly, Finance Minister Niranjan Pujari said, “Odisha is primarily dependent on the agriculture sector for employment as it provides direct and indirect livelihood to more than 60 percent of the population.”

Agriculture, including livestock and fisheries, contributes about 18 per cent to Odisha’s GSDP. The government has made a provision of Rs 5,611 crore for implementing the Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income Augmentation (KALIA) scheme. During the 2019 elections, the government committed to provide financial support to about 75 lakh families dependent on agriculture. The scheme

covers all small and marginal farmers and landless agricultural labourers, including sharecroppers.

Pujari said an outlay of Rs 218 crore has been made under the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana (PMKSY) to facilitate 1.12 lakh hectares and create irrigation potential for 6,720 hectares.

Organic farming is being promoted in an area of 10,000 hectares under ‘Paramparagat Krishi Vikash Yojana’ for which a budgetary provision of Rs 31 crore has been made in the 2019-20 fiscal, Pujari said.

It seems the Budget has the reflection of fulfilling the promises made in the Biju Janata Dal manifesto before the 2019 elections and is a pro-farmer, pro-woman, pro-poor and growth oriented budget that seeks for development and growth.

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