Odisha CM terms interim Union Budget disappointing

Bhubaneswar: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today expressed disappointment over some aspects of the Interim Budget 2019-20 presented in Parliament by Union Finance Minister Piyush Goyal.

Patnaik, however, welcomed the income tax benefits and direct benefit transfer proposed for small and marginal farmers, though the CM said the quantum of assistance for farmers could have been equal or higher than the State Government’s KALIA scheme and there is nothing for landless poor, sharecroppers and farmers in distress.

“I am deeply disappointed with the National Social Security Scheme i.e. Old Age Pension and other Pensions, which have not been revised at all. The State is covering 48 lakh beneficiaries with Rs 500 per month while Centre is giving Rs 200 per month for 20 lakh beneficiaries only,” Patnaik said.

“I am also disappointed with the allocation for ST/SC welfare both in infrastructure and education. We (State Government) have been requesting to restore the Scholarship Funds for SC students which has not been done,” the CM said.

“The allocation for MGNREGS is lower than the allocation in the revised estimate. This will adversely affect timely wage payments. The Budget allocation on rural connectivity, rural housing and drinking water have been reduced or have remained at previous level. This is not encouraging,” he expressed.

“Fourteenth Finance Commission recommended total transfer of Rupees One Lakh Eighty Four Thousand Seventy crores during the award period (2015-20). However, based on the actual receipts for 2015-18, Revised Estimates for 2018-19 and Budget Estimates for 2019-20, the State is going to receive only Rupees One Lakh Fifty Seven Thousand Eight Hundred Twenty Eight crores. Thus, the State will be hit with a shortfall of Rupees Twenty Six Thousand Three Hundred Forty Two crores,” he said.

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