NEW DELHI/BHUBANESWAR: Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Monday said the Budget 2016-17 presented by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in Parliament is a pro-poor, growth-oriented and inclusive Budget.
He said the thrust of the Budget, 2016 is to give the boost to the rural economy, incentivize agricultural activities, create employment opportunities, strengthen education and skill development and provide health-care to the poor and marginalised.
The Budget 2016-17 will largely benefit rural agrarian economies like Odisha. This is inconsonance with the promise made by the Prime Minister to the people of Odisha that he will return the love not only with the principal but with enhanced interest, he added.
Various schemes relating to the welfare of farmers and for giving impetus to the rural economy have been announced. This year Budget had made highest provision of an amount of Rs. 87,765 crore for rural development.
He said the allocations made towards irrigation, rural roads, employment schemes will not only boost the agrarian economy of the state but will also help in creating more jobs in the agriculture sector.
For the youths of the state, the Budget envisages release of their entrepreneurial talent by providing them with support and through skill development initiatives. The target under the Prime Minister Mudra Yojana has been enhanced to Rs. 1.80 crore which will provide necessary finance and capital to a section of the society who did not have access to formal credit mechanism, said the petroleum minister.
He said special scheme had been announced for entrepreneurs, belonging to SC/ST communities, which will help the SC/ST population in the State.
Besides, a special scheme has been announced for providing insurance cover up to a sum of Rs. 1 lakh for providing health-based insurance cover, dialysis centres in each district and making medicines available at affordable cost through Jan Ausadhi Scheme has also been proposed, he added.
He said substantial allocation had been made towards infrastructure, which comes to Rs. 2.27 lakh crore – taking into account investment envisaged for road and rail sectors.
“This will benefit states like Odisha with the focus of the government being on the development of Eastern India,” said the minister.
To strengthen institutions of local governments, each Panchayat will be allocated Rs. 80 lakh and each local urban body Rs. 21 crore. This will transform the local governance landscape, pointed out the minister.
Pradhan said the Budget proposes to introduce a Central legislation about the operation of Chit funds for protecting the interest of small investors.
For women, the Budget has made provision of Rs. 2,000 crore for providing LPG connections to 1.5 crore women in urban and rural households at concessional rates. This will benefit the State, where the LPG penetration is low, said the minister.
In Odisha, 34 lakh of the households has access to LPG. By 2018, this number will be scaled up to 75 lakh. This will provide women with the State access to clean, affordable cooking fuels which will be beneficial to their health and will be environment-friendly as well.