Nitish congratulates Centre for 'balanced' Union budget despite COVID challenges

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Patna, Feb 1 (PTI) Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday congratulated the Centre for coming out with a 'balanced' Union budget for the financial year 2021-2022 despite constraints on revenue collection in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He also hailed Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman's proposal to increase the budgetary outlay for health to over Rs 2.23 lakh crore in FY22 from Rs 94,452 crore estimated in the current fiscal.

Kumar said the Centre presented a Rs 34.8 lakh crore Union budget for 2021-22, which is more than the estimated total expenditure of Rs 30.42 lakh crore in the current financial year, and proposed to increase the capital spending by 34.5 per cent to Rs 5.5 lakh crore.

'It is a welcome budget given the COVID-19 pandemic and constraints on revenue collection. I congratulate the central government for presenting a balanced budget,' the chief minister said in a statement.

Kumar hailed the announcement to exempt pensioners, who are of 75 years of age or above, from filing tax returns.

The Union finance minister said in the budget that the exemption would be made available to such senior citizens who have only interest income apart from their pension.

The proposal to provide LPG cylinders to one crore additional households under the Ujjwala Scheme is a welcome step, Kumar said.

The Ujjwala Scheme has benefited eight crore poor households across the country.

He also said the proposed scheme for 'Mega Investment Textiles Parks' will not only provide employment but also help boost exports from the country.

The Union finance minister announced that seven textile parks with world-class infrastructure would be set up over the next three years.

Kumar said the Centre is promoting solar and renewable energy and will provide financial assistance to check air pollution, which is an encouraging step to save the country's environment.

The Bihar government has already decided to install 'pre-paid smart meter', the CM said, adding that the Centre has also decided to extend it further. PTI AR BDC BDC