Union Budget 2017-18 is a mixed bag and falls short of expectations: Naveen

Bhubaneswar: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday said the Union Budget 2017-18 is a mixed bag and falls short of expectations on many counts.

” This is the major financial intervention exercise after demonetization. People at large took the brunt of the impact of demonetization and I was expecting something spectacular for the common man in the Union Budget. However, the Union Budget 2017-18 is a mixed bag and falls short of expectations on many counts,” said the Chief Minister reacting to the budget presented by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in Parliament.

He said the budget did not address the specific concerns of Odisha especially relating to the development of KBK region, the opening of Bank branches in un-banked Gram Panchayats and meeting the developmental aspirations of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe community.

He said initiatives relating to job creation for the youth is one area of serious concern where the adequate focus is not given.

The scheme-related transfers from Centre to the States have been proposed to increase at a meager rate of 5.5 percent over the previous budget. Considering inflation, in real terms, there is no increase at all,” he added.

The Chief Minister said the allocation of funds for schemes relating to rural roads, rural drinking water, education, mid-day-meal program and urban development is almost stagnant.

“Moreover,  there is no growth at all in the allocation for Special Central Assistance to States for the welfare of Scheduled Castes as well as social security pensions under the National Social Assistance Programme,” said the Chief Minister.

He, however, welcomed the measures taken for the farm sector especially in Dairy Processing and Infrastructure Development Fund to be set up in NABARD.

“There is also an increased allocation for rural housing. These measures are in line with our development priorities. However, I would have been personally happy if the interest rate on agricultural credit is reduced to one percent as it has been done by our State Government for the benefit of the farmers,” said Patnaik.

He also welcomed the decision of Government of India to commemorate the bi-centenary of the “Paika Bidroha” led by Baxi Jagabandhu.

“I would also complement the Union Finance Minister for nation-wide implementation of the maternity benefit scheme, which is a replica of our own “MAMTA” scheme. It is indicative of the success of the State’s model scheme, which has been adopted at the national level,” he added.

“We will be fully supportive of every initiative taken to bring transparency in public life. A small beginning has been indicated in bringing more transparency in political funding which we welcome. I hope this will be taken forward and comprehensive reforms are made in this regard after due deliberations,” said the Chief Minister.