Budget 2020: Double boost for health, industries, IT

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Bhubaneswar, Feb 18: State Finance Minister Niranjan Pujari Tuesday tabled the State Budget for 2020-21 in the Assembly and announced doubling or increased allocations for several sectors including industries, science and technology and forest conservation among others.

For a change, the minister read out the Budget speech from a tablet rather the printed documents. All the MLAs were also given tablets by the Assembly to digitally access all Budget documents.

The total Budget outlay of the state was pegged at Rs 1.5 lakh crore, the minister said. He also informed the House that the state had received round 1500 suggestions on the Budget through different modes of communication.

Pujari claimed that the state has doubled the health sector Budget to Rs 7,700 crore within five years. The Finance Minister has allocated Rs 1,108 crore for the Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana (BSKY) which aims at universal health coverage. It has also allocated Rs 1,000 crore to make SCB Medical College into an AIIMS Plus category institution. The state has also allocated Rs 562 crore for medical colleges.

According to the Budget, the state has decided to double the allocation for industries department from Rs 237 crore in 2019-20 to Rs 575 for the next fiscal. The minister said that nearly Rs 284 crore would be spent for creation of world-class industrial infrastructure. The allocation for MSME sector has also been increased to Rs 250 crore which is more than 30 per cent compared to last year.

Similarly, the state has announced doubling of allocation of funds from Rs 902 crore last year to Rs 1960 crore for the next fiscal for forest department. Most of the funds will be diverted for compensatory afforestation under CAMPA scheme.

On the other side, the state government has also doubled the allocation to tourism sector in the state from Rs 194 crore to Rs 401 crore. It has been planned that almost half of the funds will be utilized for creation and management of world-class tourist infrastructure. The allocation for Information Technology (IT) department has also doubled to Rs 236 crore. There has also been 42 per cent increase in allocation for the Science and Technology department of the state government.

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