Ashok Gehlot-led Rajasthan govt presents exclusive agriculture budget

The Rajasthan govt led by CM Ashok Gehlot presented a budget exclusively for the farm sector with an aim to give a boost to and ensure overall development of the agriculture sector in the state

Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot (File image)
Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot (File image)

Prakash Bhandari

The Ashok Gehlot government, with an aim to give a boost to and ensure overall development of the agriculture sector, has presented a budget exclusively for the farm sector.

The exclusive agriculture budget, presented for the first time, will fulfil the aspirations of the farmers and give a boost to agricultural production in the state.

Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, in sync with poll promises, announced the creation of one lakh jobs in the 2022-2023 financial year. Under this, 62,000 youth would be given jobs as teachers at various levels by conducting the Rajasthan Entrance examination for teachers (REET).

Gehlot also announced a scheme wherein 20,000 women of various districts would be provided “work from home” jobs that would enhance the family income.

In a slew of new schemes and incentives, the Chief Minister, who also holds the finance portfolio, announced the setting up of one thousand new English medium schools for which a new cadre of English teachers would be appointed to ensure quality English medium teaching.

Gehlot said that fiscal indicators suggest estimated revenue receipts of Rs two lakh 14 thousand 977 crore and 23 lakhs. Against this receipt, the expenditure was Rs two lakh 38 thousand 465 crores and 79 lakhs. Thus the revenue deficit stood at Rs 23 thousand 488 crores and 56 lakhs, and the estimated fiscal deficit stood at Rs 58 thousand,211 crores, and 55 lakhs. This is 4.36 percent of the GSDP.

Gehlot said that no new taxes would be levied like the last budget as the economic situation has not improved to satisfactory level because of the COVID pandemic.

He said in the budget proposals for 2022-23, Rs 1500 crore tax relief has been provided that would benefit all the sectors.

In a major announcement, Gehlot said that henceforth the state’s major tourism sector would get the benefits of an industry, to let it avail incentives given to the tourism industry.

In yet another scheme to reduce unemployment, Gehlot announced that under MNREGA, the total number of days under which guaranteed jobs will be given to the rural people would be increased from the current 100 to 125 days.

A new scheme of providing jobs to urban youth would be launched that would be called Indira Gandhi Urban Employment Guarantee Scheme. Under this scheme, urban youth would be provided with guaranteed employment in urban areas like MNREGA which ensures a rural employment guarantee.

Under another scheme, the state government would set up a state industrial security force in line with the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF).

The first-ever agriculture budget was prepared by including the agriculture, cooperative, irrigation, animal husbandry, and horticulture departments. The dairy sector was not included as it is under various dairy federations that are autonomous.

A total of Rs 78 thousand 938 crores has been provided for the agriculture sector which contributes 5.9 percent to the GDP.

The separate agriculture budget would provide for an increased allocation of funds to the Mukhya Mantri Krishak Sathi Yojana for which the budgetary allocations have been increased from Rs 2000 crore to Rs 5000 crore and all the 11 various missions under the Krishak Sathi Yojana will be covered under this funding.

For the first time, the micro-irrigation mission has been made part of the agriculture budget for which a provision of Rs 2700 crore has been made to make it a center of excellence. The Rajasthan Micro Irrigation Mission would help five lakh farmers.

Under the Rajasthan Organic Farming Mission, a provision of Rs 600 crore has been made that would benefit four lakh farmers.

Millets (bajra) production has been given incentives under the new agriculture budget with a provision of Rs 100 crore.

Similarly, under various agriculture missions, budgetary provisions have been increased and under farm mechanization mission, 1000 drones would be provided to farmers for agricultural production surveillance.

In other major announcements, Gehlot announced a sixty percent subsidy to farmers on installation of solar pump sets. The estimated expenditure under this scheme would be Rs 5000 crore and a special subsidy of Rs 45000 would be given to SC and ST farmers in this scheme.

In yet another major announcement, the Chief Minister said that Rs 6700 crore will be spent on providing 3.38 lakh pending agriculture electricity connections.

Interest–free crop loans amounting to Rs 20,000 crore are to be disbursed to five lakh new farmers. These loan disbursements will have a Rs 650 crore interest subsidy.

For the non-farming sector, interest-free loans amounting to Rs 2000 crore will be made.

Under a separate provision for irrigation, Rs 14,860 crore will be spent on restructuring various irrigation projects.

Rs 2600 crore will be spent on water harvesting and conservation mission under Rajiv Gandhi Jal Sanchay Yojana Phase II.

Various works under the ambitious Eastern Rajasthan canal project would be undertaken after setting up a separate ERCP corporation and a budgetary provision of Rs 9600 crore has been made.

Gehlot said that to provide social and economic support to the common man, various incentives through exemptions, rebate reductions by offering rebates, and reductions in stamp duty have been proposed. This would give a boost to the real estate sector.

Under the industries head, enterprises established in petroleum, chemicals, and petrochemicals investment region (PCPIR) at the Rajasthan oil refinery in Barmer for sunrise sectors will get the benefits of various incentive schemes offered for the industries under the Rajasthan Industrial Promotion Scheme.

Similar incentives have been given for the development of the gems and jewellery industries, sports goods industry, and inland container sector.

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