This is what Dilip Ray, former Minister of State (MoS) for coal and Odisha MLA, has to say about the Union Budget 2016:
The union budget for 2016-17 presented by Finance minister Shri Arun Jaiitley is a comprehensive pro-people one. A conspicuous shift of focus is seen as more emphasis is laid on agriculture, irrigation, employment generation education and rural infrastructure. This is a one giant leap forward towards the government’s dream of achieving inclusive growth.
MGNREGA-The flagship program for rural employment has got a big boost with a sharp rise in the allocation to Rs 38,500 crore. All the pain points of the farmers are sought to be ameliorated through a series of well-coordinated measures. The budget has provisioned for raising the agriculture credit target to Rs 9 lakh crores which will address the capital needs of the sector and fuel investment in agriculture related projects. An irrigation fund with a sum of Rs 20,000 crores has been mooted to finance irrigation projects which will be operated by NABARD. Unfinished irrigation projects whose progress was slow on account of fund crunch will be completed. An allocation of Rs 5500 crores have been made for the Prime Ministers Phasal Bima Yojana which will protect farmers against unforeseen exigencies. A unified e platform for agriculture will be set up to holistically address the issue of farmers and offer solutions across the farmers entire harvest chain.
There is a proposal to revive 160 airports and airstrips in the country. I hope the SAIL airstrip at Rourkela will be included in this program and consequently develop into an full-fledged airport.
Development of Gram Panchayats has been provided the much needed impetus with an allocation of Rs 2.87 lakh crores. This will accelerate development of rural infrastructure and multiply employment opportunities in rural area. A target has been set to achieve 100% rural electrification by May 2018. All rural families have been targeted to be brought under digital literacy program which will help simplified implementation of government schemes. 50,000 KM of state highways have been planned to be upgraded this year. 300 rurban clusters are proposed to be set up which will check migration of rural people to urban centers. LPG connections will be provided in the name of women and Rs 2000 crore have been allocated for providing LPG connections to BPL families. This will enhance the standard of living of the rural women and poor. 3000 Jan Ausadhi stores will be opened to provide cheap medicine to the needy people.
The proposal to set up a higher education finance company with an allocation of Rs 1000 crore is a welcome step as it will fund talented students to pursue higher education. A target to train 1 crore youths in the coming three years has been set under the PM Kaushal Vikas Yojana which will make them eligible for employment and self-employment.
Overall the budget has been growth-centric and a bottom-up approach has been adopted to build the development pyramid. The conviction that development of the country is possible with the empowerment of all section of people is reflected in the budget.