Gujarat tables budget with outlay Rs 2.44L cr in election year

Presenting his first budget, the Gujarat Finance Minister Kanubhai Desai came out with an outlay of Rs 2,43,965 crore in the state Assembly on Thursday for the financial year 2022-23.

With the state Assembly polls to be held in December, it was speculated that the government would come up with a a populist budget. However, no major announcement was made in the budget and there was only a “nominal” increase in its size compared to the previous year’s budget.

Compared to the last year’s budget outlay of Rs 2.27 lakh crore, there is an increase of 7.49 per cent in this year’s budget estimate, however considering the inflation rates, the increase in the outlay seems “nominal”.

The finance minister, while presenting the budget, said that the state government is “committed” to take the education sector to a higher level through structured as well as quality infrastructure. Rs 34,884 crore have been allocated for the education department, an increase of 6.62 per cent from the previous year’s allocation.

Similarly, the Health and Family Welfare Department budget allocation is Rs 12,240 crore, an apparent increase of 8.1 per cent over last year.

Other allocations includes Rs 15,568 crore for the Energy and Petrochemicals Department, Rs 14,297 crore for the Urban Development and Urban Housing Department, and Rs 12,024 crore for the Roads and Buildings Department.

Meanwhile, for the Panchayat, Rural Housing and Rural Development Department, an allocation of Rs 9,048 crore was made. The Home Department was allocated Rs 8,325 crore, whereas the Agriculture, Farmers’ Welfare and Cooperation Department got Rs 7,737 crore in the budget.

Further, the Industries and Mines Department was allocated Rs 7,030 crore. The Water Supply Division was allocated Rs 5,451 crore, Water Resources Division was allocated Rs 5,339 crore and the Women and Child Development Department got Rs 4,976 crore.

Allocation of Rs 4,782 crores was made for the Social Justice and Empowerment Department, Rs 4,394 crore for Revenue Department, Rs 2,909 crore for Tribal Development Department, Rs 2,146 crore for the General Administration Department (GAD), and Rs 1,837 crore for the Labour, Skill Development and Employment Department.

The Forest and Environment Department got Rs 1,822 crore, the Legal Department got Rs 1,740 crore, the Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Department got Rs 1,526 crore.

Similarly, Rs 1,504 crore was allocated to the Ports and Transport Department, Rs 931 crore to the Climate Change Department, Rs 670 crore to the Science and Technology Department, Rs 517 crore to the Sports, Youth and Cultural Activities Department and Rs 199 crore was allocated to the Information and Broadcasting Department.

The state government has claimed that it was a surplus budget with an overall surplus of Rs 668 crore and effective surplus of Rs 560 crore after providing a relief of Rs 108 crores, in the form of exemption of professional tax for persons having the monthly of less than Rs 12,000.

It also claimed that despite several “impediments” like the Covid, no changes in existing tax structure or new taxes were levied. Yet, the government will earn Rs 1,19,898 crore through taxes in comparison with current year’s tax collection of Rs 1,05,331 crores (according to revised estimates).

The public debt of the state is estimated to reach Rs 3.5 lakh crore from the earlier projected figures of Rs 3.21 lakh crore.

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