Bhubaneswar: Agriculture sector, welfare and strengthening of economic foundation are the priorities on which the Odisha government is likely focus in its forthcoming annual budget for 2018-19.
“Priorities are several; we will try to place in the 2018-19 budget all that is needed for agriculture sector, welfare and strengthening of economic foundation,”hinted Finance Minister Sashi Bhusan Behera while briefing reporters after a pre-budget consultation meeting with financial experts and former Finance ministers at the State Secretariate here today.
After the meeting, Finance Secretary Tuhin Kant Pande has hinted of a bigger size 2018-19 budget.
“When resources increase, budget’s size will definitely increase. The overall view was that the State fiscal management is good. All parameters pertaining to Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management are being met properly,” said Pande.
“Several mines that could not pay the penalty have closed, this may result in fall in revenue. Since elections are due in 2019, the government is likely to make several promises for which more money may be required,” said former Finance Minister Prafulla Ghadai, who was a participant at the meeting.
Notably, the State government has several challenges before it and has to make provisions for these in the budget.
The State government’s very own food security scheme, Odia language and culture, payment of arrears to government employees, salary hike and regularization of NHRM nurses,demands of anganwadi employees, teachers etc are some of the several issues that the State government has to consider while preparing the budget keeping in mind the 2019 elections.
While the State government today extended the deadline by a week up to January 17 for receiving suggestions on budget from the public, it has received 9,000 suggestions so far through email, web portal and text messaging.