Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das Tuesday presented a Rs 80,200-crore budget for 2018-19 focused on tribal areas and Scheduled Castes. The budget was, however, presented in the Assembly in the absence of the Opposition, which staged a walkout after some Jharkhand Mukti Morcha legislators were suspended for a day. The MLAs were suspended by the Speaker for wearing black hoods in the Assembly as a mark of protest against the government which, they alleged, was not listening to the Opposition.
Das, who also holds the finance portfolio, told the House that the majority share of the budgetary allocations were for tribal areas and the members of Scheduled Castes. Against this fiscal’s allocation of Rs 22,259 crore (51.5 per cent of the total allocation), the allocation for 2018-19 under the same head has been increased to Rs 24,410 crores (52.49 per cent of the total allocation), he said.
Allocation in the Rural Development/Panchayati Raj sector has gone up by 12.39 per cent for the next fiscal to Rs 11,771.16 crore. Similarly, education sector has been allocated Rs 11,181.49 crore (up by 6.31 per cent); agriculture and water resources sector has been allocated Rs 6,421.64 crore (up by 14.86 per cent); allocation for health sector has gone up to Rs 3,826.07 crore (up by 23.18 per cent) and Urban Development, drinking water and sanitation sector has been allocated Rs 5,357.70 crore (up by 17.70 per cent).
Das said the government was focusing on small, need-based plans suggested by the villagers themselves. “They should feel that it is their budget and also feel responsible for its implementation. We are promoting Adivasi Vikas Samiti in tribal areas and Gram Vikas Samiti in mixed population areas for suggesting such plans, getting budget allocated and monitor implementation,” he said. He later told mediapersons that the government was attempting to increase the purchasing power of the rural population and the changes would start showing on the ground in four-five years.