By Pradeep Kumar Panda
Bhubaneswar, February 12: Noting that Odisha has now become more than a $100 billion economy, Odisha Finance Minister Bikram Keshari Arukha presented an interim budget of Rs 1.18 lakh crore for the first four months of the 2024-25 fiscal in the Odisha Legislative assembly. Interim budget is inclusive as it focuses on development of sectors of Odisha and puts emphasis all sections of society with a vision of New Odisha Empowered Odisha.
The state government has presented a vote-on-account instead of a full budget in view of the upcoming elections to the Lok Sabha and Odisha Assembly. The government estimated that the total budget outlay for the next financial year will be Rs 2.55 lakh crore, which is about 11 per cent more than the annual budget of 2023-24.
Keeping in view the requirement of funds for expenditure on payment of salary, pension, interest payment, repayment of principal, relief, old age pension, scholarship of ST & SC students and other on-going scheme and programmes, a sum of Rs 1,18,000 crore is proposed in the vote on account, the minister said in the House.
Of the total Rs 2.55 crore provision, Rs 1,03,500 crore has been allocated for administrative expenditure, Rs 1.40 lakh crore for programme expenditure, Rs 3,900 crore for disaster management and Rs 7,600 crore for transfer to Panchayati Raj Institutions and Urban Local Bodies.
Stating that leaving no one behind’ has been the governance motto of the BJD government for the last 24 years, the minister said. We are relentlessly working for empowerment of women, youth and vulnerable sections of the society. The 5T (transformational) mantra of our government has brought about transformative and paradigmatic change in our approach to governance.
To take the legacy of Lord Jagannath forward, Ama Odisha Nabin Odisha (Our Odisha, New Odisha) has been launched and the government has earmarked more than Rs 4,000 crore to implement various initiatives under the scheme.
Odisha has now become more than a $100 billion economy. Since 2015-16, the state has registered an average growth of 7.25 per cent, which is about 1 per cent higher than the average growth of the national economy.
According to advance estimates for 2023-24, it is projected that the state economy will grow at 8.5 per cent compared to 7.3 per cent of the country. Thus, Odisha continues to be a bright spot in the whole country.
Considering that a sizable percentage of the state’s population depends on agriculture, Rs 28,944 crore has been allocated for agriculture and allied sector, which is 16.6 per cent higher than the outlay of the previous year.
The finance minister proposed to allocate Rs 3,980 crore for around 53 lakh beneficiaries under social security pension schemes. The state government has set an ambitious target for transformation of 1,858 healthcare facilities within a period of five years with an investment of Rs.3,389 crore. An outlay of Rs 1,314 crore has been proposed for the purpose in the budget for 2024-25.
Similarly, an outlay of Rs 5,450 crore has been proposed for the Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana (BSKY) scheme in the budget while Rs 529 crore allocated for “Mission Shakti Scooter Yojana and Rs 1,449 crore for disbursement of scholarship to 14.86 lakh ST, SC and OBC students.
The state government has allocated Rs 1,050 crore for the skill development sector and Rs 21,004 crore for construction of logistics like roads, bridges, airports and railways including Rs 1,000 crore for metro rail, which is 25 per cent higher than last year.
The Shreemandira Parikrama Prakalpa (Jagannath Temple Heritage Corridor project) is a milestone in the annals of history of Odisha and the world. Odisha also dedicated the Samalei project (redevelopment of Samaleswari Temple in Sambalpur district) within a record time. Establishment of a new campus of Odia University at Satyabadi and organization of the 1st World Odia Bhasha Sammilani are important steps in growth of Odia language, literature and culture.
Stating that preservation and protection of these monuments is essential for the future generation, the finance minister said. We are taking up about 150 projects under the ABADHA scheme to be completed by 2025-26 with a massive investment of Rs 1,400 crore, he added.
On the fiscal status of the state, he said the debt stock at the end of 2024-25 is projected to remain at 13.1 per cent of GSDP against the FRBM (Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act, 2003) mandated level of 25 per cent.
Similarly, the interest payment to revenue receipt ratio is projected to remain at 3.7 per cent against the FRBM prescribed level of 15 per cent, he added. The overall food production in Odisha has doubled in the last 22 years. The state government implemented the KALIA scheme to speed up agricultural development and alleviate poverty. So far, 43.88 lakh small and 18.93 lakh landless farmers’ families have been benefited under the scheme.
Similarly, the state government undertook the Millets Mission which has brought considerable improvement in the lives of around 5 lakh farmers. There has been considerable improvement in the health sector and health for all is top priority for the state government. A target has been set for the development of 1,858 health centres in the next 5 years with an outlay of Rs 3,389 crores. Odisha has registered highest decline in Infant Mortality Rate and second highest decline in Maternal Mortality Ratio.
Point worth noting is Odisha has lowest debt burden in the country with best fiscal management. Odisha’s debt to GSDP ratio is estimated to be 13 per cent in 2024-25 which is way below FRBM target of 25 per cent. Similarly Odisha has maintained fiscal deficit at 3% over the years as per the FRBM act.
- Rs 2000 crore revolving fund proposed for paddy procurement price disbursements on time.
- 1858 healthcare centres to be transformed in next 5 years with a proposed outlay of Rs 3389 crore.
- An outlay of Rs.1000 crore is provided in the budget for 2024-25 for Metro Rail Project. Besides, Rs.700 crores has been proposed for development of Railway projects in the State during 2024-25.
- The allocation for the Industries and MSME sector has been increased to Rs. 1,555 crores during 2024-25.
Agriculture & Allied Sector Activities
- Outlay of Rs. 28,944 crores under the Agriculture Budget, 2024-25, which is 17% more than last year’s allocation.
- Provision of Rs. 2,000 crores as revolving fund to be utilised for paddy procurement operations by OSCSC.
- Rs. 685 crores for Food Storage & Warehousing-Procurement Operation Support System and Rs. 24 crores for Fair Price Shop Automation.
- Rs. 1,935 crores of direct benefit transfers under KALIA Scheme.
- Rs. 181 crores as grants to OUAT for agricultural research, education, and infrastructure
- Rs. 250 crores towards Corpus Fund for provision of Interest free loan for fertiliser and seed.
Irrigation & Water Use Efficiency
- Total outlay of Rs 14,467 crores for irrigation sector.
- Rs. 860 crores for construction of In-stream Storage Structures to fulfil the long felt needs of the irrigation.
- Rs. 1225 crores for the 2nd phase of Parvati Giri Mega Lift Irrigation scheme to provide irrigation to additional 2.63 lakh hectares.
- Rs. 194 crores to revive defunct Community Lift Irrigation Projects during 2024- 25
- Total allocation Rs. 19,959 crores for public health care with an increase of about 24% over previous year. It is about 8 percent of the State Budget.
- Rs. 1314 crores is provided for Ama Hospital, Rs.698 crore is provided for Continuance of Family Welfare Schemes (Infrastructure maintenance).
- Rs. 5450 crores is provided for Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana.
- Rs. 2992 crores under the State Scheme Mukhya Mantri Swasthya Seva Mission which includes Rs.560 crores for Support to Medical Educational Institution
- Rs.50 crores is provided for Establishment of Odisha University of Health Sciences, Bhubaneswar
- Allocation of Rs. 33,865 crores for the Education Sector.
- Rs. 24,764 crores for the School and Mass Education Department.
- Rs. 521 crores under Mo School Abhiyan, Rs.880 crore for Odisha Adarsha Vidyalaya and Rs.10 crore for High School Transformation Programme under 5T.
- Rs. 1175 crores for PM POSHAN including State Support Rs. 178 crores and Rs. 4717 crores for Samagra Sikshya, including State Support of Rs.476 crores.
- Rs. 3,470 crores for Higher Education Department.
- Allocation of Rs. 10,718 crores to transform Urban Odisha.
- Rs. 418 crores for Urban Water Supply-BASUDHA, Rs. 100 crores for Jaga Mission and Rs. 918 crores for New City Development
- Rs. 430 crores for Urban Sanitation Scheme
- Rs. 214 crores for Urban Sewarage Scheme
- Rs. 200 crores for Storm Water Drainage & Dev. of Water Bodies
- Rs. 1200 crores for Urban Road Transport
- Rs. 50 crores for Odisha Urban Infrastructure Development Fund.