The Bihar government Tuesday attached top priority to the education sector in its Budget for 2019-20 with a highest-ever allocation of Rs 34,798.69 crore with no new taxes for its citizens. Besides, the Budget also laid special emphasis on sectors like roads, health and energy.
Presenting the budget in the Legislative Assembly, Deputy Chief Minister-cum-Finance Minister Sushil Kumar Modi said the Budget of Rs 2,00,501.01 crore is Rs 23,510.74 crore more than the current 2018-19 year’s Budget of Rs 1,76,990.27 crore.
The size of the state’s budget has increased nine-fold to touch Rs 2,00,501 crore in 2019-20, from Rs 23,885 crore in 2004-05, Modi said while presenting his 10th budget in the Assembly. Except for the financial year 2012-13, the state has been presenting a revenue surplus budget consistently since 2008-09, he said adding that the state had a revenue surplus of Rs 14,823 crore in 2017-18 and Rs 21,311 crore in 2018-19 while it is expected to be Rs 21,516 crore in 2019-20.
Modi said the state government cannot impose any new taxes under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime. “The increase in size of budget indicates that the state is witnessing high growth which is evident from the CRISIL report based on government data which said that Bihar registered the highest growth rate of 11.3 per cent among major states in the country in 2017-18. We expect that we will be able to maintain the high growth momentum in future too, Modi told reporters after the budget.
Modi also said that the state’s fiscal deficit has been estimated at Rs 16,101.05 crore in the budget, which is 2.81 per cent of the gross state domestic product (GSDP) estimated at Rs 5,72,827.00 crore.
As per the provisions of the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act 2003, no state can cross the threshold limit of 3 per cent of GSDP. In the event of any state doing so, then it would be a violation of the Act, he said. “We have kept the fiscal deficit target well within 3 per cent limit at 2.81 per cent. This is the reflection of better and prudent fiscal management,” Modi said.
The state government has accorded top priority to education, roads, health, energy and police departments besides laying emphasis on 12 departments associated with “agriculture roadmap” such as agriculture, cooperative, rural development etc. The agriculture department has got Rs 2,958.77 crore in 2019-20, which is 1.48 per cent of Budget estimates.
Education got the highest allocation of Rs 34,798.69 crore in this year’s budget against Rs 32,125.64 crore in 2018-19, he said. The government intends to spend Rs 17,923 crore on road construction with the Road Construction and Rural Works Departments getting an allocation of Rs 7,005.56 crore and Rs 10,917.97 crore, respectively. The energy department, which also got major thrust in the state’s budget, has been allocated Rs 88,94 crore.
Modi said the government has achieved its target of providing electricity to all households in over 39,000 villages of the state, much before the deadline of December 2018. Besides, it intends to create a separate agriculture feeder for providing irrigation facility to every field by the end of December 2019 with an outlay of Rs 5,823 crore for the purpose.
The finance minister announced that the state government intends to install pre-paid smart meter within two years to all the power consumers of the state. The health departments allocation has been increased to Rs 9,622.76 crore in the budget. The work for construction of 11 new medical colleges – to be set up both by Centre and state – will begin in 2019-20 at Chapra, Purnea, Samastipur, Begusarai, Sitamarhi, Vaishali, Jhanjharpur, Siwan, Buxar, Bhojpur and Jamui. The home department has been allocated Rs 10,968.58 crore, he said.
The Bihar government has also given priority to the social sector by putting the welfare of Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe, Backward Class, Extremely backward class, women and minorities in the foreground of its agenda. The estimated revenue receipts of the state government have been put at Rs 1,76,747.64 crore in 2019-20 which is Rs 18,696.23 crore more than Rs 1,58,051.41 crore of budget estimate of 2018-19.
The revenue receipts include state’s share in central taxes, grants-in-aid from central government, state’s own tax and non-tax revenue, Modi explained. Of the estimated revenue receipt of Rs 1,76,747.64 crore of the state government in 2019-20, the state’s own tax revenue is estimated at Rs 33,800.00 crore while the state’s own non-tax revenue is estimated at Rs 4,806.47 crore.