The Vijay Rupani government’s maiden as well as the last budget before the December 2017 elections, presented by Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel on Tuesday in the state assembly, promises freebies and schemes for people.
While no new taxes have been proposed, Patel, who holds the finance portfolio, promised subsidised computer tablets to 3.5 lakh first-year college students as well as poor students of 100 smart schools set up by the state government.
He also promised free uniforms and textbooks to over 60 lakh primary school students, cycles to 45,000 girl students and 100 per cent tuition fee exemption to girls medical students.
The Rs 1.72 lakh crore budget estimates a revenue surplus of Rs 521.3 crore for the fiscal 2017-18.
The Finance Minister said the state would roll out the much discussed Goods & Services Tax (GST) from the month of July 2017. He said it had now been made mandatory to pay all taxes above Rs 10,000 through e-payments.
The budget has allocated Rs 56,491.89 crore for 653 schemes targeted at women welfare, while the health sector would get Rs 25,000 crore.
The budget has allocation Rs 11,500 crore for urban development and urban housing, Rs 8,800 crore for education, Rs 8,100 crore for energy & petrochemicals, Rs 6,700 crore for panchayat, rural housing and rural development, Rs 6,400 crore for agriculture and cooperation, Rs 3,800 crore for industry and Rs 2,857 crore for social justice and empowerment.
For farmers, Patel has set aside Rs 4,011 crore for subsidised power and another Rs 400 crore for free electricity supply to village water works.
A separate allocation of Rs 5,100 crore was also announced to take the Narmada Dam waters to the arid Kutch region. He also announced government’s intent to provide farm loan to farmers at 1 per cent interest rates other than cutting the agricultural tax on tractors from 3.5 per cent to 3 per cent.
The total revenue expenditure for the year 2017-18 has been estimated at Rs 1,25,455.63 crore, with capital expenditure at Rs 45,376.34 crore. The revenue receipts are estimated at Rs 1,31,521.23 crore and capital receipts at Rs 33,974.90 crore.