Bhubaneswar: To accommodate various promises made by the government, the state is likely to enhance the size of annual budget 2018-19 to Rs 1.20 lakh crore. Besides, it is expected to be people and employee friendly.
This was hinted at by Finance Minister Sashi Bhusan Behera after chairing the first pre-budget consultation meeting here at the State Guesthouse, Wednesday.
“A few people may criticise that the government will present a budget keeping the Assembly elections in view. However, the government has been bringing pro-people budget every year. In all previous budgets, social sector, farmers and welfare activities have been given a priority,” Behera said, adding that this year too priority will be given to agriculture and social sector.
Finance Secretary Tuhinkant Pandey said emphasis will be given to proper execution of welfare schemes of the government. “During the discussions, a common view emerged that fiscal management of the state is overall good. The economic condition of the state has improved. Now, all parameters related to fiscal responsibility and budget management are being met properly,” Pandey added.
Former finance minister Prafulla Ghadai suggested to the government to fill the vacancies at ground level for proper implementation of welfare schemes. Similarly, another ex-finance minister, Panchanan Kanungo, expected sops for farmers in the coming budget.
The experts, present at the meet, also urged the state government to take concrete steps for collection of water and electricity dues pending against various industrial houses and organizations.
As this year’s annual budget will be the last full-fledged budget before the next general elections, the government has to make provisions for regularisation of contract teachers and some other employees, execution of its own food security scheme, Hockey World Cup, etc. Besides, the government may also announce sops for farmers, people belonging to low income category and tribals to strengthen its vote base, sources said.
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