Bhubaneswar: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik gave a mixed reaction to the Union Budget 2019-20 which was tabled in the Parliament by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman Friday.
The Chief Minister welcomed the medium to long-term vision of the Union government while he expressed concern over some issues. “The Union Budget 2019-20 speaks of medium to long-term vision of the government which is good for the country. However, these need to be backed by commensurate budgetary allocations,” said Patnaik.
He said the imposition of cess and surcharges by the Central government, which remained outside the divisible pool, further reduced the resources available to the states. He welcomed higher allocation for sectors like health, education, skill development, drinking water, livelihood mission, women and child development.
Patnaik, however, said the decreased allocation for Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), core schemes for SC, ST and other vulnerable groups and pension under the National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP) was a cause of concern.
“Increased allocation for Railway projects is a welcome step. I hope the railway projects in Odisha would be fast-tracked with adequate allocation. However, reduced allocation for national highways would adversely affect inter-state connectivity,” he said.
Patnaik said while the Union Budget laid emphasis on rural connectivity through the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY), housing through Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY), and Swachh Bharat Mission, these need to be backed by allocation of funds.
“I wish the government enhanced the quantum of assistance to farmers under the PM KISAN scheme at par with our KALIA scheme. Landless labourers and sharecroppers should also have been included in its fold,” the Chief Minister said.