Chandigarh: With the Lok Sabha elections just weeks away and state assembly elections to be held towards the end of this year, the Haryana government presented a populist, ‘please-all’ budget with a plethora of sops for farmers and government employees.
The budget, presented by Finance Minister Capt Abhimanyu Monday, is the last of the Manohar Lal Khattar-led BJP government’s tenure.
The government will distribute Rs 1,500 crore as special financial and social security to families of farmers with less than 5 acres of land, as well as families of workers in the unorganised sector with a family income of less than Rs 15,000 per month. This cash incentive is over and above what has already been announced by the central government as part of the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi.
Speaking to journalists after presenting the budget, Abhimanyu said, at the moment, he did not have the figures for how many farmers would benefit from the scheme, nor was it possible for him to give details of how much a farmer will get as part of the scheme.
“Those modalities are being worked out,” he said.
Insurance for govt employees and other new schemes
Another significant announcement is a special corporate employee insurance package for Haryana government employees. This includes a death cover of Rs 2 lakh, apart from Rs 50,000 cover for health insurance and another Rs 30 lakh as accident cover.
The government has also decided to double the remuneration of lambardars (a kind of village official) to Rs 3,000 per month, and provide them mobile phones.
Recognising the contribution made by craftsmen like dastkars, kameras and other artisans in providing employment and livelihood at the grassroots level, Abhimanyu said the government will now provide them a rebate of Rs 2 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) up to a connected load of 10 kWh. This will be in addition to the rebate of Rs 2 per kWh up to a connected load of 20 kWh already provided.
The finance minister also announced the setting up of an aviation hub in Hisar over 3,500 acres. The hub will comprise of maintenance, repair and fixed-base operation facilities, besides having a training and simulation centre, an aerospace university and an aerospace/defence manufacturing park.
He said the government proposes to introduce the Haryana Accountability of Public Finances Bill, 2019, which, when enacted, will provide for accounting and auditing systems in all the departments receiving public monies. In addition, the government also intends to constitute the Haryana Audit and Account Service to facilitate better management of public finances.
Abhimanyu added that the government had introduced a new scheme of “performance-linked outlay” for government departments to ensure financial discipline by encouraging fiscal prudence. Under the scheme, those departments that achieve resource collection targets and ensure productive utilisation of funds will be incentivised in terms of additional outlay.
The total size of the Haryana budget is Rs 1,32,165 crore for 2019-20, which is an increase of 14.7 per cent over the budget estimates of 2018-19.
The total debt of the state was Rs 1,53,462 crore. The finance minister said the debt-to-GSDP ratio had maintained a less than 25 per cent limit prescribed by the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) Act.
Abhimanyu claimed Haryana had emerged as one of the best financially-administered states in the country. He said all the fiscal parameters except revenue deficit were well within the limits prescribed by the 14th Finance Commission and the FRBM Act.
He said the Khattar government had been able to reverse the increasing trend of revenue deficit from 2.92 per cent of the GSDP in 2016-17 to 1.53 per cent of the GSDP for 2019-20.