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Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh today presented an annualbudgetof Rs 83,179 crore for the fiscal 2018-19, when the state is slated to go for polls, giving major thrust to the agriculture sector. "The Budget focuses on welfare of farmers, development of agricultural sector, prosperity of labourers and the poor, female empowerment, welfare of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, rural development, infrastructure and good governance,"Singh, who also holds the Finance portfolio,said in hisbudgetspeech. A major provision of Rs 13,480 crores had been made for the agriculture sector, which is higher by 29 per cent when compared to the previous year, he said. Six new agricultural colleges would be set up at Jashpur, Korba, Chhuikhadan, Kurud, Gariaband and Mahasamund, Singh announced. To encourage agricultural graduates to become entrepreneurs, a new scheme called "Chalo Gaun Ki Or" will be implemented for which a provision of Rs 1 crore had been made, he said. Senior citizens and journalists would get benefit of an additional health insurance cover of Rs 30,000 (over the existing Rs 50,000) under the Mukhyamantri Swasthya Bima Yojana, he said. Facility of free tests related to radiology and pathology would be provided in all district hospitals and community health centres (CHCs) for which a provision of Rs 30 crore had been made, he said. Cashless system for treatment of labourers by empanelled hospitals would also be introduced, he said. Additional encouragement grant provided by the state government to 'mitanins' (health workers) would be enhanced to 75 per cent from the current mark of 50 per cent. This is in addition to the encouragement grant provided by the National Health Mission and it will benefit as many as 70,000 'mitanins' as their monthly payment will now rise to Rs 1000 from Rs 400, he informed. He said that the monthly honorarium of Anganwadi workers and 'sahayikas' (assistants) will be increased from Rs 4,000 to Rs 5,000 and from Rs 2000 to Rs 2, 500 per month respectively.
He added that mini angwanwadi workers would get an honorarium of Rs 2,750 from the existing Rs 2,250, which will benefit about 1 lakh anganwadi workers and assistants. The honorarium of 'kotwar' (village level revenue personnel) would be increased by 50 per cent while annual service payment of 'village patels' would be doubled from Rs 1000 to Rs 2000, he said. The Chhattisgarh CM said that in view of the positive results of the 'Suchita Yojna' scheme, under which sanitary napkins were provided (in government schools through vending machines) to encourage personal hygiene among girls, its coverage would be expanded. The expansion would bring more colleges and schools in its ambit benefitting around 10 lakh girl students, he added. Sixty new mini stadiums would be set up and a provision of Rs 30 crore had been made, he announced, adding that a sports academy in Surguja and an athletics academy in Raipur would also be built. Nine new industrial areas would also be set up, Singh said. To control human-elephants conflict and prevent loss of lives and property, 28 mobile elephant squads will be constituted for which a provision of Rs 5.20 crore had been made, he said. For taking swift action in cases related to crime against women, Women Crime Investigation Cells would be set up in six districts. The police would also constitute a special cell to tackle matters related to chit funds, Singh said. The gross fiscal deficit has been estimated at Rs 9,997 crore, which is 2.96 per cent of the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP, and was within the prescribed limit laid down by the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget ManagementAct, he said. There was no new tax proposal in the budget, he added.
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