Ahead of polls, Gujarat govt. offers freebies in budget

first_imgWith an eye on Assembly polls to be held later this year, the Gujarat government on Tuesday presented a populist budget that attempts to cater to all sections including generous doze of subsidies for farmers, tablets to 3.5 lakh students and subsidized food to 50,000 construction workers. Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel, who also hold Finance portfolio, presented the budget of Rs. 1,72,179.24 crore without imposing any new tax while enhancing the allocation in health, agriculture and education sectors in a bid to please masses ahead of the assembly polls. “Theme of the budget is: Optimise inclusive development of human resources and trunk infrastructure through effective and transparent implementation,” Mr. Patel said, adding, “the state budget is complimentary to the central budget.”Thrust on education Giving a thrust on education, Mr. Patel said Rs 200 crore has been allocated to provide tablet to around 3.5 lakh students who will pass class 12 board exam and will take admissions in college or polytechnics. The tablets will be provided at token price of Rs. 1,000. Similarly, Rs. 261 crore has been provided for Digischoll initiative under which classes of standard 7 & 8 will be converted into digital classes with use of computers, smart interactive boards, IR cameras, projectors and other digital tools. “Parents and guardians of 5.75 lakh girl students of primary schools in 14 tribal districts will be provided with grains under ‘Anna Triveni’ scheme and medical education for female students has been made completely free even in self financed colleges,” Mr Patel said in his two hour long budget speech. “Budgetary allocation for the education sector is Rs 25,000 crore, which is 1185 crore higher than previous year while 8800 crore has been earmarked for health and medical services and 6400 crore for agriculture sector,” Mr Patel told the assembly while presenting the budget. Subsidised power to farmers”1.25 lakh new electricity connections will be provided to the farmers, which will clear entire backlog till 2013 and state assistance for micro irrigation scheme has been expanded from 50 % to 70 % subsidy for general farmers and from 75 % to 85 % for SC or ST farmers.” According to Mr Patel, the state will bear subsidy of Rs 4011 crore in providing subsidized powers to farmers for agriculture connections. “In the next financial year, Rs 5100 crore will be provided for canal networks to ensure that Narmada water reaches parched Kutch region,” the finance minister said. Financial PositionIn the revised estimates for the 2016-17 Budget, Patel stated as against the expected surplus of Rs. 245.49 crore for the year 2016-17, now the surplus of Rs. 1342.93 crore is expected in the revised estimates due to net transactions.For the year, 2017-18, total revenue expenditure is estimated at Rs. 1,25,455.63 crore, while capital expenditure is estimated at Rs. 45,376.34 crore. The revenue receipts are estimated at Rs. 1,31,521.23 crore and the capital receipts are estimated at Rs. 33,974.90 crore.last_img

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