The union budget proposals will give a big push to Jharkhand’s rural and agriculture sectors and are well aligned with the state budget’s direction, government officials and experts said on Monday.
However, the opposition parties have termed the budget directionless and anti-common man.
The state budget, which was presented on February 19 in the Jharkhand assembly, had proposed 32% of its total planned expenditure on agriculture and rural development.
State finance secretary Amit Khare said,“We are expecting good fund that the state had already modified its budget according to the changes in funding pattern of the Central government, as our several special schemes including irrigation, crop insurance and health care are similar to the schemes proposed in the Union Budget. We are expecting better funding from the Centre on state and national highway road projects,” he said. Jharkhand has proposed to convert 55,000 km roads into state highway and build 10,000 km national highway.
Jharkhand’s fund share from the Centre would also increase, as devolution to the states has been increased by 55% under the 14th finance commission recommendations. “It means, the state will get more untied fund than earlier, which would support the state’s development work,” economist Harishwar Dayal said.
The centre has increased the budget allocation on Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) by 93% to construct 2.23 lakh kilometre roads and connect 65,000 eligible habitations by 2019. The Jharkhand government has set a target to construct 4,500 rural roads and connect 2,266 eligible habitation under PMGSY in 2016-17.
The union government is committed to achieving 100% village electrification by May 2018 while the Jharkhand government has set a target to electrify remaining 2,525 villages by December 2016.
Economist Ramesh Sharan said, “The budget seeks to increase the profitability of big industries and small scale industries by giving relaxation in taxes. This could attract investment to Jharkhand.”
However, Jharkhand Congress president Sukhdeo Bhagat said that an imbalance in the budget allocation is clearly visible. “The budget has proposed `500 crore to encourage pulse production while `900 crore to keep the pulse prices stable. This is illogical,” he said.