Odisha Appropriation Bill, 2017 passed in Assembly

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Bhubaneswar: The Legislative Assembly on Friday passed the Odisha Appropriation Bill, 2017 allowing the state government to utilise the state’s annual budget of Rs 1.10 lakh crore for the 2017-18 fiscal from its consolidated fund.

The bill, introduced by state Finance minister Pradip Kumar Amat, was passed by voice vote. Though no BJP member participated in the debate, the lone Congress member opposed the bill.

“The government under the leadership of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has stressed on irrigation, agriculture, social sector, education, health, drinking water and rural development,” Amat said.

Stating that the government was emphasising on increasing the state’s power generation capacity, he said the state was committed to provide quality electricity to all households in Odisha.

Completion of ongoing projects was another focus of the annual budget, the minister said.

He said the budget has attempted to converge the funds available from the state and the Centre, and projects related to irrigation, roads, and energy would get priority in the capital expenditure of the state government.

On the debt burden of the state, Amat said “The debt burden on the state was well under the permissible limit” and claimed the state government has been successful in managing its fiscal situation.

Initiating the debate on the bill, Congress chief whip Taraprasad Bahinipati strongly criticised the state government for not making any provision for the unemployed youths even as 1.38 lakh posts were laying vacant in the government sector.

He also criticised the state for lack of adequate doctors in hospitals and teachers in schools.

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