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In Bihar state budget Nitish focus on education, power

In Bihar state budget Nitish focus on education, power

The government of Nitish Kumar appeared to focus on education, infrastructure development and power self-sufficiency in Bihar's election year budget presented in the state assembly.

The budget 2015-16 has set aside Rs 22,027 crore for education, while energy sector has got Rs 8,436.90 crore.

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It has earmarked Rs 4,179.20 crore for social welfare. The backward caste & the most backward caste welfare has got Rs 1,975.30 crore and SC/ST welfare Rs 1,497.52 crore.

Presenting budget with a revenue surplus of Rs 11,980.95 crore, Finance Minister Bijendra Prasad Yadav said: "We too have been affected from economic slowdown at global and national level over the past couple of years as a result of which our receipts from diverse sources have come down in the current fiscal."

Despite these constraints, the state government has successfully managed its economy and financial aspect in particular and set a target of 9.29 per cent increase in total receipts of Rs 1,20,914.40 crore.

Revenue receipts are pegged at Rs 1, 03,189.06 crore, while the revenue expenditure is projected at Rs 91,208.11 crore, giving a surplus of Rs 11,980.95 crore. The capital receipts are pegged at Rs 17,725.33 crore.

Yadav said the surplus revenue at the state government's disposal will be used for investment in physical infrastructure to generate productive capital assets like roads, buildings, power, school, health centres and irrigation.

Explaining the Nitish Kumar government's thrust areas for development in the election year, Yadav said education, energy, welfare, rural works, road construction, rural development, health, panchayati raj and agriculture have been allocated sizeable funds out of the total proposed expenditure at 1,21,154.33 crore in next fiscal.

Briefing the reporters later, Finance Commissioner Rameshwar Singh expressed the confidence about health of the state economy and demanded flexible approach from the Centre to allow Bihar to borrow beyond three per cent limit of the GSDP under the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act (FRBM), 2003 to sustain development projects.

Bihar's economic health is robust and "we can repay whatever loan we take from the market for development works," Singh said and suggested that the borrowing limit under the FRBM should be raised at four per cent in our case.

Senior BJP leader and former Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi expressed disappointment, saying that neither new schemes have been announced nor there was any direction for development in it.

Describing the budget as directionless and discouraging, Modi said there will not be employment generation on either agriculture or industries front due to lack of focus and priorities of the state government on economic issues. Bihar is slated to go to polls in November this year.

The total receipts of Rs 1,20,914.40 crore consists tax revenue of Rs 81,622.58 crore, which is up by 21.03 per cent from last fiscal, Yadav said.

Bihar will receive Rs 50,747.58 crore from its share of central taxes next fiscal, up by 21.48 per cent from last year, he added.

The state's own taxes will grow by 20.31 per cent to Rs 30,875 crore. The state will receive Rs 18,170.63 crore in grants-in-aid from the central government, down by 42.17 per cent from 2014-15 budget estimates.

On the expenditure side, the total non-plan expenditure has been projected to rise by 6.80 per cent to 63,259.59 crore.

The plan expenditure is estimated to be almost the same as the last year at Rs 57,425.73 crore.

Out of the total expenditure of Rs 1,21,154.33 crore, the revenue expenditure will walk away with lion's share at 75 per cent, while capital expenditure will be around 25 per cent, Yadav said.

The state government has also succeeded in containing its fiscal deficit at 2.98 per cent of the state's GSDP which is estimated to be Rs 45,5451 crore in the next fiscal.

Interest payment too has been contained at seven per cent of the total revenue receipt, the finance minister said.

The state government has allocated Rs 299.38 crore for minority welfare in the budget, while Rs 6,821.11 crore has been set aside for rural works and Rs 5,795.06 for road construction.

The rural development department has been given Rs 5,216.06 crore, while Rs 4,971.67 crore has been earmarked for the health sector.

The Panchayati Raj department has been allocated Rs 4,364.32 crore, while agriculture department has been given Rs 2,833.24 crore, Yadav said.

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