Odisha chief ministe Naveen Patnaik on Friday said that the Union Budget spoke of long term vision of the government, which was good for the country, however it needed to be backed by commensurate budgetary allocations.
Reacting to the the Budget presented by Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Patnaik said: “While I welcome higher allocation for sectors like health, education, skill development, drinking water, livelihood mission, and women and child development, the decreased allocation for MGNREGA, core schemes for ST, SC and other valuable groups and pension under NSAP is a matter of concern.”
Patnaik however lauded the increased allocation for Railway projects and hoped that the Railway projects in Odisha would be fast-tracked with adequate allocation. At the same time he was critical of reduced allocation to highway projects that, he feared, would adversely affect inter-state connectivity.
On rural connectivity, Patnaik commented that the Budget laid emphasis on it through PMGSY, housing through PMAY and Swachh Bharat Mission but added that they needed to be backed by allocation of funds.
On farmers’ issue, Patnaik said: “I wish the Union government would have enhanced the quantum of assistance to farmers under PM KISAN at par with our “KALIA” scheme. Landless labourers and share-croppers should also have been included in its fold.”
The imposition of cess and surcharges by the Central government, which remain outside the divisible pool, further reduces the resources available to the states, Patnaik said.