Gujarat Budget Focuses on Farmers, Unemployed Youth
The recently elected BJP government of Gujarat led by Vijay Rupani has announced in its Rs. 783 crore surplus budget that it will focus on unemployed youth and farmers’ plight. The budget presentation of finance minister Nitin Patel was boycotted by opposition congress party which alleged that BJP’s low minimum support price that was currently being offered for farm products was destroying the farming community. The current budget of Gujarat has allocated a sum Rs. 41,553 crores along with Rs. 1,11,565 crores for development purposes. Mr. Patel confirmed that around 57% of the developmental funds would be allocated for growth of social sector.
The budget is likely to help in mopping up additional Rs. 106 crores due to higher levies on liquor permit holders and tourists consuming liquor in the city. The fiscal deficit in Gujarat for the year 2018–2019 has been pegged at 1.71% as there are no additional levies. The overall budget layout is at Rs. 183,666 crores and there are no more levies to affect common citizens as the ruling BJP’s majority declined in the state from 115 to 99 in recent polls. This was largely due to low support prices for agricultural products followed by high unemployment.
Finance minister Patel stated that the budget’s focus is on farmers’ welfare, youth employment, water supply, education, nutrition social justice and improvement of state infrastructure that would bring in more business. The budget has allocated Rs. 785 crores for creating 3.5 lakh jobs for the state’s youth some of which will be directed through government agencies. An amount of Rs. 6,755 crores have been allocated for agriculture sector and development of farmers’ cooperatives. He also predicted reduction in Gujarat’s public debt by 15.96% in 2018–2019 and mentioned that the government will be able to bring down fiscal deficit due to low market borrowings by 1.71% like last year.