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Pradeep Singh

Bhubaneswar: Odisha government has so far spent around Rs 1912 crore on COVID management and due to revenue contraction amid declining economic activity on account of the pandemic, the State will have to depend on borrowings to meet this extraordinary stress on the budget, informed chief secretary Asit Tripathy here on Wednesday.

Presenting details of the State's expenditure on account of COVID-19, Tripaty said Rs 340 crore from Chief Minister's Relief Fund (CMRF) and Rs 624 crore from State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) have already been spent while the Panchayati Raj Institutions have so far spent Rs 875 crore in developing critical infrastructure.

The State legislators have also contributed from their MLA LAD funds a total of around from Rs 73 crore for the purpose, said Tripathy.

He said that as there may be a reduction in Central funds, the State will have to focus on market borrowings and his hopeful to do the same within the enhanced FRBM (Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act, 2003) limits.

Instead of expensive market borrowings, the State's strategy will be to borrow funds cheaply available under CAMPA (Compensatory Afforestation Fund Act, 2016) and OMBDAC (Odisha Mineral Bearing Area Development Corporation), he said, adding, "... Rs 1,000 crore has already been borrowed from these sources."

As saving lives is the top priority of the government during this COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020-21 budget allocations have to be relooked and reworked, said Tripathy.

(Edited By Bikram Keshari Jena)

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