The Rajasthan budget is reform-oriented and aimed to achieve inclusive growth while focusing on women, youth and farmers, chief minister Vasundhara Raje said on Tuesday.
“The budget is for a smiling, modern and healthier Rajasthan,” she said, justifying the lion’s share of social and community services (38.22%) in the plan outlay for 2016-17. “It is a budget to lessen the distance between India and Bharat,” she added.
Talking to media after a marathon three-hour budget speech, Raje said she tried to incorporate the “burning problems” of all seven divisions in the state while dealing with the “unprecedented debt the previous government left the state with”.
“There is a part 1 and a part 2 of the budget that I presented today,” she said.
The first part focused on reforms and inclusive growth while the second was on tackling the financial mess “created by the previous government”, added the CM, who is also the state’s finance minister.
In her budget speech too, she spoke about the alleged financial mismanagement of the Ashok Gehlot government and how her government was apparently still grappling with its “ill effects”.
Critics said the budget decision of increasing the retirement age of medical teachers from 60 to 62 years would benefit only professors at a time when more doctors at lower levels of healthcare was needed.
But health minister Rajendra Rathore, also present at the press conference, said the government was working to bridge the gap at the lower levels of healthcare too.
When asked about an entry tax imposed on e-commerce, Raje said the state should be ready to bear some burden of her development agenda but didn’t give details about the proposal.
To a question on the Barmer refinery not finding a mention in her budget speech, the chief minister said she could not give away half of Rajasthan for a refinery. “Like I mentioned in my reply on the governor’s address, we are trying to get the best deal out of the agreement with the oil company,” she said.
Rajasthan BJP president Ashok Parnami said the government would fulfill its promise of providing 1.5 million jobs to young people in five years.
Chief secretary CS Rajan and principal secretary (finance) PS Mehra were also present at the press conference.