Amid uproar in the Bihar Vidhan Sabha, deputy chief minister Tar Kishore Prasad, who also holds charge of the finance portfolio, presented the annual state budget on Monday afternoon.
Prasad presented a Rs 2,37,691 crore budget for the financial year 2022-23 in the Vidhan Sabha. He has also set a target to not let the fiscal deficit go beyond 3.5%.
He allocated Rs 39,191 crore for education, Rs 16, 134 cr for health, Rs 29,749 crore for rural development, Rs 7,712.30 crore for agriculture and Rs 12,375 crore for the social welfare sectors.
"We have put 6 points as priority for this government for the financial year 2022-23 which include education, health, industry, investment in agriculture, and development of rural and urban basic infrastructure.
"During the pandemic, the Bihar government had shown commitment to execute a 100% vaccination programme apart from improving the health infrastructures of the state. We had allocated Rs 16,134 cr to address the situation that arose during the pandemic last year.
"Education is also our priority. We will focus on improving school infrastructure including construction of school buildings, playgrounds, books, school dresses etc followed by recruitment of teachers," he said.
"Industry is another sector where the government would have a special focus in the next financial year. We believe that investment will come to the state and it will address the issues of unemployment and migration of jobless people. The fund allocation for industry is Rs 1,643 crore and 74 lakh," Prasad said.
"We have earmarked Rs 1,110 crore for the Nal Jal Yojana," he said.
Prasad informed that the budget includes Rs 38,035.93 crore for education, followed by Rs 16,835.67 crore for rural development, Rs 15,227.74 crore for road infrastructure, Rs 13,264.87 crore for health and Rs 8,560 crore for the energy sector.
Besides Rs 4,671 crore was earmarked for the second phase of the 'Saat Nischay' (seven resolves) programme, implemented immediately after the Nitish Kumar-led NDA's return to power. Kumar had, in 2015, announced the first phase of the Rs 2.7-lakh crore 'Saat Nischay', and promised to implement the second phase after the assembly polls.
Reacting to the budget, the oppostion Rashtriya Janata Dal state spokesperson Ejaz Ahmed said that "the 6 points were mentioned in the budget last year too. There is nothing in this budget. It is just an eyewash with nothing new in it. The finance minister has made a mockery of the people of Bihar through presenting such a lacklustre budget."
"They had allocated funds for education, health, agriculture and other sectors but it was not implemented on the ground," Ahmed said.
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