MP govt’s ₹3.14 lakh crore budget focuses on women, tribals and religion

Madhya Pradesh finance minister Jagdish Deoda presented a revenue surplus budget of over 3.14 lakh crore on Wednesday in the state assembly ahead of the December polls.

Madhya Pradesh finance minister Jagdish Deoda presented the state budget today (ANI Photo)

With a special focus on women, tribals and religion, Deoda announced schemes for giving scooty and skill upgradation stipends to girl students, a special fund to provide employment to nomadic tribes and the development of Hindu religious structures in Salkanpur, Orchha and Chitrakoot. To woo the Dalit community, he announced a memorial for Sant Ravidas in the Sagar district.

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The 2023-24 MP budget is Rs. 3,14,025 crore, an increase of 12.5% from the previous year’s budget of Rs. 2,79,237 crore and is expected to have higher revenue growth of 16%.

Even though the state promised to keep the fiscal deficit at 4.02% of the state gross domestic product (SGDP) in the next financial year, the state’s debt would increase to 3,85,000 crore by March 31, 2024, because of more money needed to fund new initiatives announced in the budget. As of now, the state’s debt is 3,00,000 crore. The finance minister said that the debt to GSDP ratio would be 27.83% in 2023-24, down from 30.12% in the current financial year.

The finance minister did not announce any new tax and kept 1.02 lakh crore for women’s empowerment and welfare.

“To achieve the objective of self-reliance in women, a support of 1,000 will be made per month under the ‘Mukya Mantri Laadli Behna’ scheme,” Deoda said. The scheme aims to transform the lives of crores of women across the state by empowering them financially. The budget provision for the scheme is 8000 crore,” he added.

For the tribal and Dalit communities in the state, 36,950 crore for the tribal sub-plan and 26,087 crore for the caste sub-plan were allocated. In addition to this, 252 crore to provide employment to nomadic tribes was announced.

The state finance minister also announced a 1,000 crore scheme to provide apprenticeship to one lakh youth under the ‘Mukhyamantri Kaushal Apprenticeship scheme’ in industry, apart from opening Global Skill Park in Bhopal and skill development centres in Gwalior, Sagar, Jabalpur and Reva. Under this, “200 youth will also be sent for training to Japan,” said Deoda.

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Further, 358 crores were allocated for the expansion of four temples– Devilok in Salkanpur, Ramlok in Orchha, Ravidas Samark in Sagar and Deviya Vanvasi Lok in Chitrakoot in different parts of the state. These will be on the lines of Mahakal Lok in Ujjain, Deoda said.

“The provision of 50 crore has been announced for ‘Mukhyamantri Teerth Darshan Yojna’ through airways. A 900 km Narmada Pragati Path will also be developed in the state. The facilities of the helicopter will be started for pilgrimage in MP,” Deoda said. The FM announced to open 3,346 cow shelters in MP.

He also announced Dr Keshan Hegdevar Museum in Balaghat and Hindi Bhawan and Atal Bihari Vajpayee Memorial in Gwalior.

Another focus area in the budget was infrastructure development with the provision of 28,624 crore for the Public Works Department (PWD) to build roads and bridges. New projects like Vindhya Expressway are also taken up under infrastructure development.

Ken-Betwa link project with an estimated project cost of 44,600 crore has been commenced which will prove to be a lifeline for the Bundelkhand region, the FM said, claiming that the budget provision for the capital expenditure of 56,256 crore is highest in the history of the state.

Meanwhile, the opposition called it an election-year budget with no relief from inflation. MP Congress Committee president Kamla Nath said, “The budget has nothing to enthral for common people. The BJP-led state government has not given any relaxation from taxation.”

Before the budget, the Congress MLAs reached the assembly with placards and gas cylinders to register a protest against the rise in the price of LPG by 50. The opposition leaders raised objections to many budget provisions and also walked out from the assembly during the budget speech.

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