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Odisha government is likely to present a bigger budget for 2018-19 during the third week of February with emphasis on agriculture, social security and infrastructure development. This was stated by Finance Minister S B Behera today after attending a pre-budget consultive meeting attended by economics experts and former Finance Ministers. Some people may criticise that the government will introduce a budget keeping the next assembly election in view. But, the government has been bringing pro-people budget every year. In all previous budgets, social sector, farmers and other welfare activities have been given a priority, Behera told reporters. Odisha's fiscal management has been very good, said finance secretary T K Pandey adding that all the participants in the meeting have given their views on this line.
As the financial situation in the state has improved, there may be a big size budget for 2018-19, he said. Former Finance Minister Prafulla Ghadai, who was a part of the meeting, stressed on filling up vacancies to ensure proper implementation of welfare schemes. Another former Finance Minister Panchanan Kanungo said: "I hope that the size of the budget for 2018-19 will be around Rs 1.20 lakh crore. The Government may introduce pension for farmers or do something in procurement policy. But agriculture sector would be prioritised.
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