File photo: Odisha finance minister Niranjan Pujari along with chief minister Naveen Patnaik.(PTI)
File photo: Odisha finance minister Niranjan Pujari along with chief minister Naveen Patnaik.(PTI)

Odisha presents 1.7 lakh cr budget with focus on agriculture, health

  • The budget projects a revenue surplus of 2,336 crore, almost one-fourth of the revenue surplus that it had in 2020-21 FY.
By Debabrata Mohanty, Bhubaneswar
UPDATED ON FEB 23, 2021 12:46 AM IST

Odisha finance minister Niranjan Pujari on Monday presented the state budget for 2021-22 with an outlay of 1,70,000 crore, about 26 per cent higher than the previous year, with a focus on agriculture, healthcare and heritage even as Covid-19 affected its revenue receipts.

The budget projects a revenue surplus of 2,336 crore, almost one-fourth of the revenue surplus that it had in 2020-21 FY while the fiscal deficit was below the FRBM limit of 3.5 per cent of the gross state domestic product (GSDP).

“The outlay is proposed to be financed mainly through revenue receipts of 1,25,600 crore and gross borrowing and other receipts amounting to 44,400 crore. Total revenue receipts for the year 2021-22 include state’s own tax of 37,500 crore, own non-tax revenue amounting to 20,000 crore, state’s share in central taxes of 30,137 crore, and grants from the Centre, including GST compensation to the tune of 37,963 crore," said Pujari in his budget speech.

With farm protests still raging around northern India and panchayat polls less than a year away, the budget kept its focus on agriculture, allocating 17,469 crore for agriculture and allied activities, up from 11,911 crore in 2020-21.

The allocation includes 1,800 crore for Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income Augmentation scheme, 819 crore has been sanctioned towards interest subvention on crop loans to co-operative and commercial banks, 454 crore towards subsidy, 106 crore for Odisha Millet Mission, 1,415 crore for fisheries & animal resources development sector, and 137 crore for development of brackish water aquaculture, marine fisheries, intensive aquaculture, and inland fisheries.

Also read: UP allocates 479 crore in budget for madrasa modernisation scheme

Similarly, the allocation for healthcare was up by 19 per cent over previous years with a budgeted expenditure of 9,164 crore. While 1,353 crore was provisioned for Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana for free medical facilities with coverage up to 5 lakh per family in case of male members and up to 10 lakh per family in case of female beneficiaries, 500 crore was allocated to convert SCB Medical College into “AIIMS Plus Institute” to provide world-class healthcare facilities. Similarly, 1,572 crore was allocated under Mukhyamantri Swasthya Seva Mission for building health infrastructure and services.

Keeping its focus on heritage, the government allocated 542 crore in the coming fiscal to transform Puri into a world heritage city while 200 crore each for the Lingaraj and Samaleswari temple development. For drinking water supply, the budget allocated a massive investment of 12,000 crore for piped drinking water supply projects while it allocated 7,618 crore for building new roads, bridges, improvement of existing roads and bridges as well as highway development programme.

A corpus of 500 crore has been created to facilitate timely payment of wages under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Guarantee Act pending receipt of Central assistance for the wage component. Around 29,063 crore has been allocated under the tribal and the SC sub-components.

Chief minister Naveen Patnaik said the budget was pro-people, pro-growth and transformative.

“Most of last year, we lost in Covid lockdowns. From that scenario to present a holistic, fiscally prudent budget is nothing short of brilliant,” said Patnaik.

The finance minister said after a contraction in the current year, robust economic growth is expected to support improved revenue growth in the coming year. "Odisha’s two largest revenue sources are its share of central

government revenue and its revenue. In 2019-20 they amounted to 70 per cent of total revenue. Mining revenue is also subject to fluctuations in global demand. There is still uncertainty around goods and services tax compensation given the recent economic slowdown. Despite these negative revenue shocks, state revenue is expected to grow by about 10 per cent over the medium term," he said.

The finance minister said in the current year, the short-term expenditure priority has been to design and implement

immediate responses to the Covid-19 crisis. "Amid the shortfall in tax revenue against the budget estimate, the state government has undertaken some expenditure rationalisation measures to cut down spending in the short-term but is budgeting for increased expenditure over the medium term," said Pujari.

"The total spending is projected to increase from 24.01 per cent of GSDP in FY 2019-20 to 29.01 per cent in FY 2021-22. Working with limited resources, and guided by the need to ensure sustainable public finances, the state is placing a greater focus on strategic sectors such as health, education, social security, livelihood security, employment generation and support for economic recovery," he added.

The finance minister said despite Covid-19 affecting revenue, Odisha's revenue is expected to grow modestly by 5.5 per cent. "The slower growth is the combined result of the falloff in economic activity as a result of the Covid-19 lockdown and a decline in the state’s share of central taxes. A lower share in Central taxes is anticipated as a result of updated demographic data being used in the calculation of states’ share, and uncertainty in GST compensation. As the economy expands over the medium term, revenue is expected to recover to pre-pandemic levels, reaching 21 per cent of GSDP in FY 2021-22," he said.

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