Haryana govt presents Rs 1.55 lakh cr budget with focus on health, agriculture

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Chandigarh, Mar 12 (PTI) The Haryana government on Friday presented a Rs 1.55 lakh crore budget for the 2021-22 fiscal, with health, agriculture and infrastructure identified as key priority areas.

Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, who also holds the finance department portfolio, presented his second budget in the State Assembly here.

Presenting the paperless budget, Khattar proposed no fresh tax.

He proposed a budget of Rs 1,55,645 crore for FY 2021-22, an increase of 13 per cent over FY 2020-21 of Rs 1,37,738 crore.

The budget outlay comprises 25 per cent as capital expenditure of Rs 38,718 crore and 75 per cent as revenue expenditure of Rs 1,16,927 crore.

As per 2021-22 Budget Estimates, the revenue deficit is estimated to be at Rs 29,193 crore (about 3.29 per cent of GSDP) as compared to Rs 20,856 crore revenue deficit in the current fiscal.

The debt liability is likely to go up to Rs 2,29,976 crore as on March 2022 from Rs 1,99,823 crore as on March 2021, constituting 25.92 per cent of the GSDP.

Khattar proposed to raise the Old Age pension to Rs 2,500 per month from April 1 of this year from present Rs 2,250.

Presenting budget estimates in the House, Khattar said that the COVID-19 pandemic presented 'unprecedented challenges and taught us several lessons'.

'It is important for the budget to prioritise specific sectors that are key to leverage a rebound in the economy, particularly in times of crisis. We have identified health, agriculture and infrastructure as key priority areas that we need to focus recovery and resurgence,' he said.

'While focusing on health is of paramount importance in these times of unprecedented public health crisis, agriculture which forms the foundation of our economy and which is the sheet anchor of our self-reliance is critical,' he said.

Khattar added that the government needs to continue assistance to farmers for paving the way for Haryana's economic growth.

An outlay of Rs 6,110 crore has been proposed for 2021-22, of which Rs 2,998 crore is earmarked for agriculture and farmers welfare, Rs 489 crore for horticulture, Rs 1,225 crore for animal husbandry and dairying, Rs 125 crore for fisheries and Rs 1,274 crore for cooperation.

The outlay of Rs 6,110 crore for FY 2021-22 indicates an increase of 20.9 per cent against the 2020-21's Rs 5,052 crore.

He said the government is committed to doubling the farmer's income.

'We are indebted to our farmers, whose toil and hard work has made Haryana the food bowl of the country. Agriculture is the mainstay of our economy. We are committed to doubling farmer's income and ensuring his/her wellbeing,' he said.

He said this budget endeavours to reinforce 'our interventions and schemes for agriculture on increasing farmer's income, crop diversification and water conservation”.

The health sector has been allocated Rs 7,731 crore in 2021-22 as against previous fiscal's previous fiscal's Rs 6,433 crore.

As a part of National Education Policy, the government plans to upgrade classroom infrastructure through blended learning models to improve learning outcomes.

A sum of Rs 700 crore will be allocated to promote technology-based learning in all government schools which will include provision of digital tablets, digital classrooms etc.

With the aim to promote inclusivity, free education will be provided to students in government schools coming from all categories from classes 9th to 12th. A sum of Rs 192 crore will be allocated for ensuring quality education and opportunities to them, as per budget provisions.

Special focus will be given to disadvantaged groups by creating Special Education Zones (SEZs) for targeted groups to improve the enrolment from these groups. A Gender Inclusion Fund (GIF) will be created of Rs 114.52 crore to provide higher financial assistance to girl students in these SEZs, said Khattar. Khattar announced the launch of a new scheme – the Mukhyamantri Antyodya Parivar Utthan Abhiyan.

This Abhiyan will draw verified data from the Parivar Pehchan Patra (family ID card) and identify the poorest one lakh families in the state.

A package of measures from education, skill development, wage employment, self employment and job creation will be adopted and tailored to each family to ensure their economic upliftment so as to reach a minimum economic threshold of Rs 1.80 lakh per annum, he said.

'Once these one lakh families are successfully uplifted, then the government will identify the next lot of poorest one lakh families and work for their economic upliftment,' he said.

The Mukhyamantri Antyodya Parivar Utthan Abhiyan will be an umbrella mission encompassing all schemes of government to identify the scheme or set of schemes to supplement the upliftment of each identified family.

'Each department of government will prioritise schemes implemented by them for the upliftment of the identified poorest families. By 2025, if we are together in implementing the Abhiyan, I hope to see no family in the state living below the poverty line,' he said.

In the financial year 2021-22, Khattar proposed a target for economic upliftment of 2 lakh families under the Mukhyamantri Antyodya Parivar Utthan Abhiyan.

'The government's strategy is to comprehensively cover these families at the lowest end of the socio economic ladder, and extend the coverage to the next set of one lakh families, and gradually expand coverage to all the vulnerable sections of the society,' he said. PTI SUN VSD MKJ