Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot with MLAs in the state Assembly on Thursday. (Express photo by Rohit Jain Paras)
Criticising the Union government’s economic policies that said have translated into “losses” for the state, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot presented his government’s second Budget on Thursday with a focus on health, farmers, jobs, and without any new taxes.
Gehlot said Rajasthan is losing out on nearly Rs 10,362 crore from its share in Central taxes. “The Centre has many sources (to generate revenue), such as borrowing from the RBI, disinvestment, reducing its share in LIC, but states do not have any option,” he said.
Gehlot listed seven focus areas of his government for the coming fiscal: health; farmers; development of women, children and senior citizen; labourers and students/youth; education; water/electricity/roads; and skills and technology.
A provision of over Rs 14,533 crore has been made for health-related services. This includes a ‘Nirogi Rajasthan Prabandhan Kosh’ of Rs 100 crore, and early intervention centres at district level, as well as increase of 1,000 beds in hospitals.
Gehlot announced that construction of 15 new medical colleges would be completed in the next four years at an expenditure of approximately Rs 5,000 crore.
Gehlot announced over Rs 3,420 crore for the Agriculture Department, which includes setting up of 12,500 farm ponds with an expenditure of Rs 150 crore to increase groundwater levels.
For Women and Child Development, he said that an “A-3 application” will be developed for better coordination among aanganwadi karyakaratas, ASHA sahyogini and Auxiliary Nurse Midwifery (ANM).
For Social Justice and Empowerment Department, the Budget provisions Rs 8,500 crore and says a Board for the Economically Backward Classes will be constituted. G
For minorities, he announced a grant of Rs 5 crore to the Waqf Board and construction of residential school buildings for minority boys and girls at Masuda and Kaman blocks of Bharatpur with Rs 41.60 crore, as well as a 100-bed boys’ hostel in Jaipur with Rs 5 crore.
For tribals, he announced setting up of skill development centres in Pratapgarh, Dungarpur and Udaipur, as well as a subsidy of Rs 45,000 each to tribal farmers for installing solar pumps, with a ceiling of Rs 22.50 crore.
He announced 53,181 jobs, with as many as 41,000 of them in the education sector. The CM also said no new tax has been imposed but instead a relief of about Rs 130 crore has been given.