Millennium Post

Guj Budget: No new taxes; focus on edu, health

Gandhinagar: No new taxes were proposed in the Gujarat budget for 2020-21, presented by the BJP government on Wednesday, which saw a healthy allocation of Rs 31,955 crore for education, Rs 11,243 crore for health and Rs 7,423 crore for the agriculture sector.

The Rs 2,17,287-crore budget for the next fiscal has an overall surplus estimates of Rs 275 crore. In the budget presented on the first day of the assembly session, Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel, who also holds the finance portfolio, proposed to reduce electricity duty for shops and offices, cold storages, religious places and dharmshalas, giving benefits of Rs 320 crore to them.

Patel, who presented the budget for the eighth time, did not propose any new taxes.

Of the total budget of Rs 2,17,287 crore, as per estimates, the developmental expenditure is expected to be Rs 1,33,283 crore and non-developmental expenditure at Rs 80,400 crore.

The size of the budget for the next fiscal indicates an increase of Rs 12,472 crore over the last one. Patel, while presenting the budget, told the House that special focus has been placed on health, education, water management, animal husbandry, rural and urban development, agriculture and overall social development.

Patel allocated Rs 7,423 crore for the agriculture sector and Rs 31,955 crore for the education department.

To encourage cow urine and manure-based farming, a cultivator shifting to such agriculture methods will be given an assistance of Rs 10,800 per year to rear cows, he said.

Patel made a provision of Rs 50 crore to cover around 50,000 farmers under this scheme.

To improve primary education scenario, Patel said the government will construct 7,000 new rooms in state-run schools with an estimated cost of Rs 650 crore.

On the higher education front, Patel said a provision of Rs 7 crore has been made to start a School of Defence Studies at the Gujarat University in collaboration with the DRDO.

Similarly, a sum of Rs 12 crore has been allocated to IITRAM (Institute of Infrastructure Technology Research and Management) to start Department of Advance Defence Technology in collaboration with the DRDO.

Patel alloted Rs 11,243 crore for the health and family welfare department.

While Rs 450 crore has been allotted for the Ayushman Bharat Yojna (a Centre-sponsored health scheme), Patel said Rs 27 crore will be spent for purchasing 150 new ambulances.

Announcing a provision of Rs 3,150 crore for the women and child development department, Patel said 'Rann Anganwadis' (child care centres) will be opened in desert areas for the children of 1,500 saltpan worker families.

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