The Jharkhand government on Friday presented a Rs 1.16 lakh crore budget for the 2023-24 fiscal, announcing a variety of schemes for all-round development of the state, including programmes for farmers, students and the MSME sector.
The budgetary estimates for the financial year starting April were 15 per cent higher than the previous year.
Finance Minister Rameshwar Oraon, while tabling the budget in the assembly, said it was formulated after consultation with all stakeholders concerned, and that it will meet aspirations of the poor and the downtrodden.
Meanwhile, members of opposition BJP and AJSU Party alleged that the budget had no substance, and staged a walkout.
Oraon said the execution of three schemes Guruji Credit Card’, CM Education Encouragement’ scheme and Eklavya Training’ scheme would benefit 37,000 students in getting quality education, including free coaching.
The state government aims to make all panchayats zero drop-out ones in the next fiscal, the minister asserted.
Despite the formidable economic challenges, we strengthened the economy and took care of those who were not able to raise their voice, Oraon said.
To reduce financial burden on the state exchequer, the Jharkhand government will form a Pension Fund for which it has allocated Rs 700 crore in the budget, he said, adding, the old pension scheme has already been implemented to benefit retired employees.
The budget has also proposed to introduce an MSME policy to boost the sector.
Medical Colleges will be set up in Bokaro and Ranchi, and mental health insitutions will come up in Palamu, Chaibasa and Dumka, besides an alcohol de-addiction centre in Ranchi, Oraon said in his budget speech.
In order to provide irrigation benefits to farmers, the ‘Krishi Samriddhi Yojana’ will be implemented, and Rs 500 crore has been proposed for desiltation of ponds and deep boring, he said.
The incentive for dairy farmers has also been hiked to Rs 3 per litre from Rs 2 per litre. Another programme would be launched to encourage millet production in the state at a cost of Rs 50 crore.
“In the year 2022-23, the growth rate of our state is estimated to be 7.8 per cent in comparison to the national economic growth rate of 7 per cent,” Oraon said.
Through better financial management, Jharkhand has succeeded in keeping the fiscal deficit below 1 per cent in 2021-22 and as a result, the debt-GDP ratio of the state has improved, he claimed.
Oraon said the state government has emphasised on increasing the capital outlay gradually. In 2021-22, it was Rs 10,789 crore while the same has been envisaged at Rs 25,317 crore in 2023-24.
Later, talking to reporters, the minister said Jharkhand is looking to garner more revenue from the mining, tourism and transport sectors, which have huge potential to contribute to development of the state.
Jharkhand has huge scope of revenue from the mining sector. Our neighbour Odisha’s annual revenue from mining is around Rs 50,000 crore, while our revenue is about Rs 10,000 crore. Interestingly, Jharkhand is equal to Odisha as far as mining potential is concerned, Oraon said.
He said the budget has also proposed to bring in a tourism policy by according the status of industry to tourism, and allocated Rs 349.20 crore for the sector in 2023-24.
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