A month after recording a landslide victory in the three-tier Panchayat elections held in the State in February, the Interim Budget 2022-23 tabled in the State Assembly on Wednesday has hiked the allocation for Rural Development to a record Rs 13,776.78 cr.
As per the data available in the State Budget document, the allocation for Rural Development in the Odisha has been Rs 10,085 cr (actual) in 2019-20, Rs 11,322 cr Budget Estimates (BE) and Rs 11,343 cr (actual) in 2020-21, Rs 10,850cr (BE) and Rs 12, 238cr (RE) in 2021-22 and Rs13,776.78cr (BE) in 2022-23.
The above data clearly shows the BE for the year 2022-23 has been highest in the history. The budgeted rural development expenditure accounts for 6.9 percent of the total estimated expenditure of Rs 2 lakh crore for the year 2022-23, though in 2021-22 the proportion was 7.5 percent.
Rural Development Budget 2022-23
With the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojans-Gramin (PMAY-G), where the State government is putting Biju Pucca Ghar Yojana (BPGY) logo in a towering way, proving the vote windfall for the ruling BJD in the recently held Panchayat polls, FM Pujari has made a massive hike in allocation for the PMAY-G and BPGY.
As against the allocation of Rs 2,296 cr for the rural housing scheme in 2021-22, the budget 2022-23 has hiked the allocation to a whopping Rs 5,906 cr.
The Budget document shows that while Rs 4424 cr has been allocated for rural development programmes, a sum of Rs 1413cr has been provisioned for special rural development programmes. The allocation under the head of rural employment has been increased to Rs 7,907 cr in 2022-23 from Rs 6380 cr in 2021-22 (RE).
Even though the Budget 2022-23 (I) has hiked the allocation for Rural Development to a record high, the provisioning for the all-important MGNREGA has not been increased.
The allocation for MGNREGA in 2021-22 was Rs 2001 cr. The interim budget tabled today puts the allocation for year 2022-23 at Rs 2001 cr, though the revolving fund for the scheme has been enhanced by another Rs 500 cr.
The Revolving Fund corpus has been hiked to ensure timely payment of wages to the MGNREGA workers.
Why Revolving Fund Increased?
Under this flagship rural employment scheme, the wages are mandated to be delivered to the labourers within 15 days. No timely payment will then lead to a rejected transaction.
As per the data available with the Union Rural Development Ministry, a total of over 5.26 lakh transactions had been rejected in 2020-21.
The demand for raising the corpus of the Revolving Fund has been pending for years. However, Budget 2022-23 (I) have addressed the long pending demand and hiked it to Rs 1000 cr.