Madhya Pradesh’s budget 2015-16 is "a mix of good politics and good economics", finance minister Jayant Malaiya said on Wednesday.
The state’s financial condition is robust, he told media soon after presenting the budget in the assembly. Defending the government's move of taking loans, he said it was "a necessary step for development."
"I would be happy if the loan element increases. Loans can be both a boon and a bane, depending on how they are used.”
"We are using the loan amount for development purposes," he added.
Responding to questions on whether the state is facing a financial crunch, Malaiya said: "It is true that the state government had imposed a ban on payments but this was part of a strategy to ensure fiscal discipline."
He added that the curbing of expenses was not due to any fund crunch.
State additional chief secretary (finance) Ajay Nath said with the 14th finance commission increasing the states' share of central tax to 42% to from 32%, Madhya Pradesh’s revenues for fiscal 2015-16 had been estimated at Rs. 13, 000 crore
State BJP president Nandkumar Singh Chauhan termed the budget as development oriented and one that would provide relief to the common man.
Chauhan said the budget provisions included Rs 1,398 crore for the girl child scheme and Rs 18,000 crore for loans to farmers, which would help the agricultural sector.
BJP’s state organisational general secretary Arvind Menon said the budget besides focusing on health, education and skill development health, has something for all sections of the society.
Earlier during the budget presentation, the Congress, which listened to Malaiya’s speech for more than half an hour without interrupting him, was quick to take a dig at him as he referred to the home department and spoke about jails.
Congress’ Sukhendra Singh Banna said: "Jail theek kara lo, jail. (Keep the jails in better shape)." This was an obvious reference to the state’s most high-profile examination and recruitment scandal and the alleged role of BJP leaders in the scam.