Baghel delivers commitment to farmers in tax-free Budget

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, who was under severe pressure to keep his pre-election commitment to farmers, presented Rs 95,650-crore tax-free Budget for fiscal 2020-21 in the State Assembly on Tuesday.

In a lengthy speech amid clapping by ruling Congress MLAs, Baghel who also holds finance portfolio announced a new scheme, “Rajiv Gandhi Kisaan Nyay Yojana” with a budgetary provision of Rs 5,100 crore to provide good returns to farmers for agricultural produce.

Baghel commenced his speech with “Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah, Sarve Santu Niramayah” (Let everyone be happy and healthy), and with the spirit of “Gadhbo Nava Chhattisgarh” (building a new Chhattisgarh), giving primary focus on nutrition, betterment and extension of health services and productive use of the youth’s energy to develop them as a powerful resource.

“The Central Government had given special exemption to purchase paddy at support price along with bonus distribution to the previous government. But this year the state could not get this exemption from the Centre,” Baghel said.

“Therefore, to ensure appropriate benefit to the Rs Annadata’ (farmers), the Rajiv Gandhi Kisan Nyay Yojana will be launched,” he announced. The benefit of the scheme will also be extended retrospectively for fiscal 2019-20, he added.

Overall, the budget for 2020-21 earmarks 38 per cent funds for the social sector, 40 per cent for the economic sector and 22 per cent for the general service sector.

Estimated gross expenditure for 2020-21 is Rs 1,02,907 crore. The net expenditure, after deducting repayment of debt and recoveries, is estimated at Rs 95,650 crore.

Revenue expenditure is estimated at Rs 81,400 crore and capital expenditure at Rs 13,814 crore, 14.44 per cent of the total expenditure.

Total revenue receipts for year 2020-21 are estimated at Rs 83,831 crore.

The State is estimated to have surplus revenue of Rs 2,431 crore, as in previous years. Fiscal deficit (which factors in debt repayment liability) is estimated to be Rs 11,518 crore, which is 3.18 per cent of the state’s estimated gross domestic product (GDP) for 2020-21, little above the prescribed limit of 3 per cent, Baghel stated.

Total receipts for 2020-21 are estimated to be Rs 96,091 crore against estimated expenditure of Rs 95,650 crore.

Budget deficit is estimated to be Rs 3,522 crore by the end of 2020-21, including estimated Budget deficit of Rs 3,963 crore for 2019-20, he said.