Odisha budget size likely to increase this fiscal

Bhubaneswar: The State government is expected to present a bigger budget for 2018-19 with emphasis on agriculture, social security and infrastructure development.

Finance Minister Sashi Bhusan Behera today hinted at an increase in budget size after a meeting with financial experts and former Finance Ministers at State Secretariat.

“A few people may criticise that the government will introduce a budget keeping assembly election in view. But, the government has been bringing pro-people budget every year. In all previous budgets, social sector, farmers and other welfare activities have been given a priority,” Sashi Bhusan said.

“During the discussions, a common view emerged that fiscal management of the State is overall good. The economic condition of the State has improved. Now, all parameters related to Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management are being met properly,” Finance Secretary Tuhinkant Pandey said.

Former Finance Minister Prafulla Ghadai, who was a part of the meeting, stressed on filling up vacancies to ensure proper implementation of welfare schemes.

“We expect a good budget from the government with emphasis on poverty eradication, healthcare, sanitation, agriculture, education and infrastructure development this year. The government should fill up the vacancies in order to implement all welfare schemes properly,” Ghadai said.

Similarly, former Finance Minister Panchanan Kanungo expected sops for farmers in the coming budget. “I think this year the size of the budget is expected to cross Rs 1.20 lakh crore. The Government may introduce pension for farmers or do something in procurement policy. But agriculture sector would be prioritised,” Kanungo said.