Laptops, smartphones for meritorious students, free Wi-Fi in varsities, residential schools in hilly areas and air ambulance facility to ferry the sick and injured are among the highlights of the Uttarakhand state budget. The budget, worth Rs 39957.79 crore, for the current fiscal was tabled in the state Assembly without a revenue deficit and it does not propose any new taxes. Introducing the BJP government’s first budget, Finance Minister Prakash Pant said the total estimated revenue expenditure for 2017-18 is Rs 31,550.83 crore which is 78.96 per cent of the total expenditure. The estimated capital expenditure for this year stands at Rs 8,406.96 crore which is 21.04 per cent of the total expenditure, he said. No revenue deficit is expected this year which implies that the total revenue expenditure is estimated to be less than the total revenue receipts. The total receipts of the state stand at Rs 39,856.13 crore, he said. Fiscal deficit is of Rs 5471.42 crore which is 2.37 per cent of the state GDP which is within the three per cent limit of fiscal liability and budgetary management, he said. The budget expresses the state government’s commitment to zero tolerance towards corruption, he said. The proposal for introducing e-filing for time-bound disposal of files and introduction of biometric system in all government offices were steps in that direction, he said.
The budget also proposes to set up a Commission to review and get rid of outdated, useless and impractical laws.
A ‘CM dash board’ is being put up in the chief minister’s office to monitor the performance of all departments on a daily basis. The budget also proposes allocations to distribute laptops, smartphones among meritorious students and provide free Wi-Fi connectivity to all Universities. NCERT books will be made mandatory for all schools and hostels and residential schools will be set up in hilly areas.
Health card scheme will be introduced for BPL families or those who do not come under income tax ambit.
Air ambulance facility will be provided to seriously ill and injured people in hill areas. Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat congratulated Finance Minister Prakash Pant for presenting a balanced budget. No new taxes are proposed in this budget. It takes care of the poor, farmers, women and the youths. A balanced budget like this will lead to the birth of a new Uttarakhand,” he said in a statement here.