Presenting his second budget, Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das on Friday said that many of the provisions in his budget were a result of pre-budget consultations held with the stake-holders over a period of four months. The Rs 63,502 crore budget has put emphasis on agriculture and allied sectors and women.
Free LED solar study lamps for school students; grants to the poor and the needy to visit religious or other tourist destinations in the state or the country and multi-purpose examination halls to ensure regular studies were some of the eye-catching announcements.
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The government will also start a pension scheme for the HIV/AIDS victims at a rate of Rs 600 per month. Similarly, the widow pension of the same amount would be given to women above 40.
However, Das, addressing the press after the budget, said that the budget was not aimed to be “populist”. “Most of the suggestions have come up directly from the stake-holders – be it the poor, the students, the intellectuals, the industries. Therefore, the focus is on what is needed,” said Das.
“For instance, we have decided to give 90 per cent subsidy for solar pump. The suggestion came from a farmer. A student told us about their regular studies being disturbed due to exams. So, we have decided to set up multi-purpose halls in at least 10 districts. Similarly, it was a journalist who suggested insurance for his fraternity. We are starting that,” said the Chief Minister.
Das said in his budget speech that it was for the first time that it contained Action Taken Report (ATR) of the previous budget.
Emphasising on women, the government has decided to give training to 2,000 women from the SC/ST and OBC categories for driving light three-wheelers and four-wheelers and to make loans easily available for them to buy these vehicles to run on their own. Working women’s hostels are to be constructed in six cities. All the schemes, in which women beneficiaries are over 30 per cent have been brought together under the ‘gender budget’.
In agriculture, rural development and allied sectors, the Jharkhand government has decided to set up ‘single window system’ in all blocks of the state, beginning with 100 in the first phase. Solar pumps, lift irrigation, organic farming etc will also be promoted.
Further, the MLA’s local area development fund has been increased by Rs 1 crore (From Rs 3 crore to Rs 4 crore). However, this fund will have to be used by them only for irrigation projects.
Also, the government will create awareness among farmers to use power tillers in place of tractors. The power tillers are known to be efficient and cost-effective tools as compared to tractors for farming.