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"Disappointed" with interim Union budget: Patnaik

Press Trust of India  |  Bhubaneswar 

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik Friday expressed "disappointment" over the interim Union Budget and said he would give it only 2.5 marks out of 10.

He, however welcomed the tax benefits for middle class and benefits to farmers announced in the budget.

Patnaik claimed the state will be hit with a short fall of Rs 26,342 crore in actual receipt of allocations in regard to the 14th Finance Commission recommendations.

Stating that he welcomes the tax benefits planned for middle and lower income groups, Patnaik said he too welcome the direct benefit transfer proposed for small and marginal farmers on the line of Odisha's KALIA scheme.

"However, it would have benefited the farmers more if the quantum of assistance is equal or more than our KALIA scheme which is Rs 10,000 per year," Patnaik said adding that there is nothing for landless poor, share croppers and farmers in distress.

Odisha government in December last year has launched the Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income Augmentation (KALIA) scheme for providing assistance to the farmers.

Replying a question, Patnaik said: "I will give 2.5 out of 10 to this interim budget."

The chief minister said some initiative taken towards MSME sector is encouraging. However, this does not suffice to meet the needs of employment generation in the country, he said.

Patnaik said he is deeply "disappointed" with the National Social Security like Old Age Pension and other pensions have not been revised at all.

The state is covering 48 lakh beneficiaries with Rs 500 per month while the Centre is giving Rs 200 per month for 20 lakh beneficiaries only, the chief minister said.

"I am also disappointed with the allocation for ST, SC welfare, both in infrastructure and education. We have been requesting to restore the scholarship funds for SC students which has not been done," Patnaik said.

He said the allocation for MGNREGS is lower than the allocation in the revised estimate. This will "adversely affect" timely wage payments, he said adding that the budget allocation for rural connectivity, rural housing and drinking water have been reduced or have remained at previous level. "This is not encouraging," Patnaik said.

Patnaik said though the 14th Finance Commission had recommended total transfer of Rs 1,84,070 crore during the period from 2015 to 2020, the actual receipt for 2015-18 revised estimates for 2018-19, the state is going to receive only Rs 1,57,828 crore.

"Thus, the state will be hit with short fall of Rs 26,342 crore," the chief minister said.

Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) president Niranan Patnaik said the Union Interim Budget is nothing but "Election Jumla".

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, February 01 2019. 19:50 IST