By Arun Pratap Singh
DEHRADUN, 18 Feb: State Finance Minister Prakash Pant today presented a revenue surplus budget for the year 2019-20 to the tune of Rs 48,663.90 crores. The focus of the budget is on agriculture and allied sectors. However, in what appears to be a balanced budget, he has kept fiscal deficit within the 3 percent limit of GSDP prescribed under the FRBM Act.
Pant informed the House that total receipts for the year 2019-20 were estimated to be Rs 48,679.43 crores, while the total expenditure was estimated to be Rs 48,663.90 crores. In the budget, of the total receipts, revenue of Rs 38,955.49 crores is estimated. Of this, income of Rs 23,622 crores is estimated through taxes, while Rs 15,333.38 crores are expected in the form of non-tax revenue. Similarly, for the year 2019-20, of the total estimated expenditure of Rs 48,663.90 crores, revenue expenditure of 38,932.70 crores is estimated, as well as capital expenditure of 9731.20 crores. Interestingly, expenditure on salaries, allowances and wages, etc., of the government employees is estimated to be Rs 14,513.79 crores, which is a significant portion of the total expenditure of the government. In addition, the government is estimated to incur an expenditure of Rs 5,942.69 crores on pensions, etc., of retired government employees. As the government has taken loans from the markets to meet the expenditure in the past, it is estimated to incur an expenditure of Rs 5332.19 by way of interest alone and Rs 2876.31 crores in form of repayment of principal amount.
In order to push agriculture growth in the state and generate self employment in this sector, various provisions have been made in the budget.
For example, marginal and small farmers will be granted interest free loans of up to Rs 1 lakh per farmer in case of need for agriculture and agro-processing work. Self Help Groups engaged in farming activities will be granted interest free loans of up to Rs 5 lakhs. In order to increase area under irrigation, provision of Rs 50.50 crores has been made under the PM Agriculture Irrigation Scheme. In addition, provision of Rs 1033 crores has been made for the Irrigation Department for various projects of which a provision of Rs 121 crores has been made for construction of irrigation canals in unirrigated areas of the state. Provision of Rs 87 crores has been made under the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) for the year 2019-20. Presently, 54 projects are underway under RKVY in the state. An additional provision of Rs 104.12 crores has been made to promote cultivation of traditional crops like coarse cereals, etc.
In order to promote unspecified agriculture activities and employment generation through them, provision of Rs 100 crores has been made in the budget for the year 2019-20. To promote horticulture, Rs 51 crores are being provided under the National Horticulture Mission.
Rs 20 crores are being provided for crop insurance for horticulture crops like apple, etc.
Animal Husbandry has also seen significant budget provisions this year. A total provision of Rs 261 crores has been made for the department, which is significantly higher than previous year. Of this amount, an amount of Rs 10.5 crores has been allocated for the development of better crossbred cattle breeding centre.
The budget indicates seriousness of the state government in providing medical treatment on hospitalisation to the state’s families under its recent Atal Ayushman Uttarakhand Scheme for which an amount of Rs 150 crores has been allocated for the year 2019-20. A provision of Rs 85.65 crores has been allocated for developing infrastructure and facilities at Doon Medical College Hospital, while an amount of Rs 76 crores has been provisioned for Almora Medical College. The Medical Health & Family Welfare has a total provision of Rs 2545 crores for the year 2019-20.
The government claims that it is committed to improving the quality of school education and for this a provision of Rs 8757.97 crores has been made under Education, Sports, Art & Culture. A provision of Rs 1073 crores has been made under a new scheme called Samagra Shiksha aimed at improving quality of school education. Higher Education gets Rs 548 crores.
The Tourism Sector has failed however to get adequate priority despite claims made by the government in respect of its potential in income generation for the state as well as employment generation for the hill folk. A meagre provision of Rs 70 crores has been made for construction and development of basic infrastructure facilities in the tourism sector under EAP, while provision of Rs 11.5 crores has been made under Deendayal Upadhyaya Housing (Home Stay) Scheme. In addition, Rs 15 crores have been provided under Veer Chandra Singh Garhwal Tourism Self Employment Scheme. The PM Housing Scheme gets Rs 90 crores. In order to strengthen the road network and connectivity in the rural areas, a provision of Rs 900 crores has been made, while an amount of Rs 240 crores has been allocated for maintenance of roads and bridges. PWD gets a provision of Rs 450 crores. Urban Development and Housing gets Rs 8816 crores. At the same time, Urban and Rural Local bodies get Rs 2182 crores. Rs 100 crores have been allocated for land acquisition for construction of the Roorkee-Deoband Railway line.
Interestingly, budget provisions have been sourced from liberal Central grants. Otherwise, the state is somewhat resource strapped as a major chunk of its expenditure is made on salaries, allowances of government employees.