Rajasthan’s full Budget makes large allocations to fulfil BJP’s poll promises

The key announcements in the full Budget included allocations of ₹25,000 crore for the health sector and ₹15,000 crore for tap water connections to 25 lakh rural households

Published - July 11, 2024 05:05 am IST - JAIPUR

Deputy Chief Minister Diya Kumar presented the full Budget for 2024–25 in the Rajasthan Assembly on July 10. She announced new policies and the creation of institutions in sectors such as finance, youth, agriculture, urban development, tourism, transport, and the tech-driven economy. The Budget includes allocations to fulfil major promises made by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.

Ms. Kumari, who holds the Finance portfolio, earlier presented the vote-on-account for the first four months of the financial year on February 8. The key announcements in the full Budget included allocations of ₹25,000 crore for the health sector and ₹15,000 crore for tap water connections to 25 lakh rural households.

As many as 4 lakh new jobs will be created during the next five years, and a large number of them are expected to come from reforms, including the promotion of exports by the State. Ms. Kumari said fiscal management, the creation of “green infrastructure,” the financing of public sector utilities and construction of new express highways would ensure the speedy development of the desert State and strengthen public welfare.

$350 billion economy

Amid repeated disruptions from the Opposition benches, Ms. Kumari said the BJP government was committed to making the State a $350 billion economy as part of the action plan for ‘Developed Rajasthan @ 2047’, which comprises 10 resolutions. The commitments included infrastructure development, social security, good governance, and investment promotion, she said.

The Opposition Congress MLAs disrupted the Budget speech several times, seeking clarification on the government’s stand on the Old Pension Scheme, which was restored by the previous regime. Leader of Opposition Tika Ram Jully said no action had been taken on 95% of the announcements made in vote-on-account, and the Eastern Rajasthan Canal Project had been truncated.

Ms. Kumari affirmed that the provisions for new tourism, sports, and data centre policies, the proposed Bill for urban development, the new board for promotion of sustainable agriculture, and the green budget, which would elicit a renewed interest from investors in green infrastructure, would help create new opportunities and create affluence among the people.

The Budget also proposed electricity connections to 2 lakh households, ₹100 crore for construction of a corridor at the Khatu Shyam Pilgrim Centre in Sikar district, the formation of a Rajasthan Tourism Development Board, construction of nine greenfield expressways, and free tablets with internet for meritorious school students.

The Deputy CM said the State government had taken steps to curb paper leaks, which occurred during the previous regime, and arrested more than 100 people in a drive against the paper leak mafia in the short time since it came to power.

Double farm income

Sustainable agriculture to be promoted by the State government would double farmers’ income and save energy and fertiliser subsidies, besides improving nutritional food security, Ms. Kumari said. Similarly, measures to promote renewable energy would improve access to and quality of electricity supply, with a positive impact on finances in the power sector, she added.

While announcing amnesty schemes for energy, transport, value added tax, mining, stamp, and excise, the Budget estimated revenue receipts at ₹2,64,461 crore, revenue expenditure at ₹2,90,219 crore, and a fiscal deficit of ₹70,009 crore, which is 3.93% of the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP).

The ruling BJP termed the Budget a “welfare document” focusing on all sections of society, while Opposition leaders criticised it as disappointing and falling short of public expectations. Chief Minister Bhajan Lal Sharma said the Budget presented a vision for the future and aimed to resolve major issues such as water and power shortages.

Veteran Congress leader and former CM Ashok Gehlot said the Budget was full of “hollow announcements” and neglected the needs of common people and farmers. “Contrary to our government’s Mission 2030 which aimed to take Rajasthan to the top, the BJP’s Budget completely ignored education, health, and social security,” Mr. Gehlot said.

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