Chief minister Raman Singh laid thrust on youths, infrastructure and industry while presenting the state budget for 2015-16 in the state assembly on Friday.
Singh, who is also in-charge of finance portfolio, presented the budget estimate of Rs 65,013 crore, which is ?an increase of 18 % over the previous year revised expenditure estimates.
A major highlight of the budget is the introduction of a separate 'youth budget', which brings into sharp focus the public investment in schemes that directly relate to the state’s youth. Chhattisgarh is the first state to do so and Rs 6151 crore have been allocated for youth, which is 16 % of the state plan outlay.
The additional resources on account of the 14th Finance Commission devolution and receipt from coal block auction has boosted the kitty of state’s own resources, which Singh proposed to utilise productively in further engendering the wealth of the state, both physical and human.
Infrastructure according to the chief minister will trigger investment which in turn ensure fuel growth and create wealth of Chhattisgarh. “And the skilled youth shall build the human wealth necessary for growth”, he added.
Focus on infrastructure, coupled with the newly declared industrial and IT policies of the state will boost investment climate as he announced a series of trade and business-friendly tax incentives in VAT, central sales tax and entry tax to make domestic trade and industry more competitive.
The focus on infrastructure is another highlight of the budget, with an outlay of over Rs. 11,000 crore, representing an increase of over 39% over last year.
Bold tax reforms have been proposed to further enhance the "ease of doing business" in Chhattisgarh. As the acclaimed pioneer of food security, Dr Singh has made a massive allocation of about Rs. 5,000 crore for the State's food security initiatives, which cover 85% of the population.
In the health sector, a special nutrition supplement scheme for TB patients, the first of its kind in the country and distribution of free insulin for diabetic children are fresh initiatives. To give a fillip to the Swachh Bharat Mission (Clean India initiative), the chief minister announced an exemption of VAT and entry tax on bio-toilets. In the budget, Singh reaffirmed his government commitment to the poor, farmer and deprived population. Fiscal deficit has been contained within prescribed ceiling of 3 % of the gross state domestic product (GSDP).