The Uttarakhand Budget of Rs 45,585.09 crore for the fiscal year 2018-19, which was presented by Uttarakhand Finance Minister Prakash Pant at the State Assembly building in Gairsain, on Thursday, laid emphasis on agriculture, water conservation, tourism development, and health. Tourism, being a major source of revenue for the state, has been allotted Rs 183.37 crore in the Budget.The government will be developing 13 tourist destinations across the 13 districts in the state. The announcement was made by Chief Minister Trivendra Rawat on March 18, when he completed one year in office. While presenting the Budget, Pant said, “We will focus on developing one destination in each district that could attract tourists…(Under this scheme) we will not develop the already existing tourist destinations. We will instead focus on new or lesser known areas to serve as tourist attractions.”
In the Budget, an allocation of Rs 966.68 crore has been made for the agriculture sector, where the government aims at developing organic farming in the state. It also aims at cultivating more local produce. For doubling the earnings of farmers in the state, the state government has prepared a plan under the guidance of G B Pant University of Agriculture and Technology at Pantnagar in Udham Singh Nagar district.
For drinking water-related schemes, Rs 862.84 has been allotted. To increase the availability of drinking water, the state government plans to focus on reviving and conserving the existing traditional drinking water facilities in Uttarakhand villages by 2022. An allocation of Rs 2,286.57 crore has been made for health and family welfare, and the AYUSH department.
The Rs 45,585.09 crore Budget is about 14.08 per cent more than the outlay of the previous fiscal year 2017-18. The Budget mentions that there will be no revenue deficit in 2018-19, which means that the total revenue receipts will be more than the total revenue expenditure. The fiscal deficit for 2018-19 is Rs 6,710.34 crore, which is 2.75 percent of the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP). However, the fiscal deficit is within the limits prescribed by the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act.
While the CM lauded the Budget, stating that it focused on all sections of people and every place in the state, the Opposition called it “directionless”. Speaking to the media, senior Congress leader and Leader of Opposition in the state assembly, Indira Hridayesh, said, “The Budget lacks vision, and is directionless. The state government has announced many things in the Budget, but where will the revenue for it all come from?”