Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh on 9 March 2016 presented the Annual State Budget 2016-17 in the legislative assembly. This was his 10th successive budget as he also holds the portfolio of Finance Minister.
The focus and attention of the budget is agriculture, Infrastructure, and social sector.
The Budget pegged the Annual Development Plan for the year 2016-17 at 70056 crore rupees and estimated the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) at 7.6 percent in the fiscal 2016-17.
• Seven Pillars of Development: Farmers, Inclusive Development, Communications, Health, Security, Self-reliance and Capacity-building
• Capital expenditure for infrastructure: Share of the sector in the budget was raised by 18.6 percent. In the fiscal year 2015-16, it was raised nu 16.9 percent.
• Social sector expenditure: It was increased by over 16 percent, with its share in the budget increasing from 37% to 40%.
• Agriculture Department’s budget: It was increased by 26 percent.
a) Development of road network: Government announced plans to construct 13000 kilometer long road with an investment of 42000 crore rupees over the next three years. The budget allocation for this is a massive 6101 crore rupees representing an increase of 56% over the preceding year.
b) Expansion of rail network: Government decided to develop 780 kilometres of railway lines on three arterial routes, namely Raipur Baloda Bazar-Jharsuguda, Ambikapur-Barvadih and Dongargarh Kawardha-Mungeli-Bilaspur-Katghora. For the purpose, it opted to continue unique Public-Private Partnership (PPP) strategy, with equity infusion from Railways and the State Government.
c) Development at Airports: It seeks to develop Raigarh and Jagdalpur (Bastar) airstrips as airports for regular flights.
d) Electricity: It will be provided to un-electrified 818 villages and all 9000-plus un-electrified schools by March 2017. The project will be executed through project outlays totaling 761 crore rupees, besides a massive 700 crore rupees programme of network strengthening for the Bastar and Sarguja regions, involving the setting up of 80 sub-stations in two years.
e) Urban development: 225 crore rupees was allocated for AMRUT Mission. Under this, sewerage system for Raipur has been approved at a cost of 650 crore rupees. Provision has also been made for buying the Raipur-Kendri railway line land to decongest Raipur traffic and to create public transport facilities to the airport and Naya Raipur. Naya Raipur too has received sizeable allocations for basic civic infrastructure like sewerage and a bus rapid transit system (BRTS).
a) Health: The public health system will be strengthened by expanding bed capacity by 44 percent through creation of 2400 additional hospital beds. Besides, the D.K.S. Hospital campus at Raipur will be developed as a super specialty hospital with ultramodern facilities, including the first PET-scan facility in the State. A 100-bed hospital cum trauma centre for Bastar will be developed at Jagdalpur in the PPP mode and a 100-bed super specialty hospital too would be established there with NMDC’s help. At present, Chhattisgarh is running the most inclusive health insurance scheme in the country, providing universal health insurance with cover of 30000 rupees per year.
b) Insurance: Cover under the Mukhyamantri Swasthya Bima Yojana was enhanced to 50000 rupees.
c) Malnutrition: To combat malnutrition, Mukhya Mantri Amrit Yojana was announced under which flavoured milk will be given weekly to children in all anganwadis, and soya milk in all elementary schools of select three districts.
d) Prime Minister’s Housing for All by 2022 Mission: The government will provide an additional support from the State exchequer in the form of additional subsidy of up to 4 lakh rupees per house, over and above the subsidy of 1 lakh rupees per house already provided for, for in-situ housing redevelopment in slums.
e) Urban sanitation: It doubled the subsidy on toilet construction through the state exchequer.
f) Education: 7 general public universities will each receive 20 crore rupees, while Agriculture and Animal Husbandry Universities will together get another 40 crore rupees.
i. Swami Vivekanand Gyanodaya Yojana was announced for all-round improvement of colleges, with an outlay of 84 crore rupees.
ii. Vivekanand Gurukul Unnayan Yojana will be launched for all-round development of weaker section students in residential schools.
iii. Youth will be the beneficiaries of various entrepreneurship development schemes such as incubator-cum-accelerator, interest-free loans for startups and a venture capital fund.
iv. Mukhya Mantri Yuva Swavlamban Yojana was launched to train and place 5000 college students in IT and BPO sectors. 144 crore rupees was allocated for skill development schemes.
v. For development of urban facilities in rural areas under Shyama Prasad Mukherji Rurban Mission, four clusters have been identified in Rajnandgaon, Dhamtari, Kabirdham and Bastar districts.
To tackle the agricultural distress caused due to drought, the government pledged its resources for interest-free converting crop loans of drought affected farmers to medium term loans and offering them partial waiver, besides providing them to one quintal of free improved seeds for the next kharif season.
i. 200 crore rupees was allocated for launching Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana.
ii. The outlay for irrigation projects this year stands increased by 173 crore to 2891 crore rupees.
iii. Land records will be comprehensively made available online under the comprehensive new e-Dharti Yojana.
iv. Fire stations will be established this year in 10 cities across the State.
Tax concessions in VAT were announced for consumers. These include removal of VAT from cycle and cycle parts, brooms, mops, brushes and wipers.
a) In order to create a level playing field for local retailers competing with online retailers, VAT on mobile phones has been reduced from 14% to 5%.
b) In a major tax relief for the state’s steel industry, the Chief Minister announced reduction in the VAT rate on iron ore, pig iron, sponge iron, iron ore pellets, ingots, billets and ferro-alloys from 5% to 2%.
The 2016-17 budget projects a revenue surplus and a fiscal deficit of 2.88 percent, well within the FRBM limit of 3% of GSDP.
The State’s overall debt-to-GSDP ratio is the lowest among all states and Chhattisgarh is among the leading states in terms of the ratio to GSDP of both tax revenue and non-tax revenue.
It also has the highest ratio of developmental expenditure to GSDP in the country and the second highest social sector expenditure to GSDP ratio.
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