Bihar’s grand alliance government Friday presented a budget of Rs 1,44,696 crore for 2016-17, which is Rs 24,010 crore more than the previous budget.
Education continues to remain a top priority with an allocation of Rs 10,950 crore or 15.31 per cent of the total plan outlay. With Chief Minister Nitish Kumar assuring electricity connection to every household, the energy sector turned out to be the second most important priority with an allocation of Rs 9,658 crore or 13.51 per cent of the total plan outlay.
The previous state government’s priorities such as road and health were pushed to the fourth and sixth position on the government’s priority chart with an allocation of Rs 5,954 crore and Rs 5,348 crore, respectively. The energy sector has got an overall budget of Rs 14,367 crore, second only to the overall education budget of Rs 21,897 crore (plan and non-plan).
State Finance Minister Abdul Bari Siddiqui presented the budget, laying special emphasis on Nitish Kumar’s election promises of “fulfilling seven resolutions”, which include schemes such as student credit card and allowance to youth to incur expenses during their job search.
The government, which had recently hiked value-added tax (VAT) on 20 items, however, did not introduce any new tax.
When asked about how the government would make up for the Rs 4,000 crore excise duty loss after the upcoming ban on countrymade liquor from this April, the minister said, “We have taken a host of small measures and ensured that we get at least Rs 5,000 crore plus revenue than last year. It is a Rs 14,649 crore revenue surplus budget.”
Reacting to the budget, BJP legislature party leader and former deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi said, “There has not been adequate provision for the much talked about seven resolutions. The education budget has been cut down from 19.16 per cent to 15.31 per cent and the revenue collection is also not satisfactory.”