Bhubaneswar, Feb 1 (LocalWire) Odisha chief minister on Friday gave a mixed reaction to the Interim Budget 2019 presented in the Parliament by Union Financial Minister Piyush Goyal.
Welcoming tax exemption limit to Rs. 5 lakh per annum, Patnaik said: “I welcome the tax benefits planned for middle and lower income groups.”
Goyal also announced farmers having 2 hector or less land area, will receive Rs 6,000 a year under a new scheme – Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojna.
“I also welcome the direct tax benefit transfer proposed for small and marginal farmers on lines of our KALIA (Krushak Assistance for Livelihood Income Augmentation) scheme,” said Patnaik.
“However, it would have benefitted the farmers more if the quantum of assistance is equal or more than our KALIA scheme, ie, Rs. 10,000 per year,” he said.
“Also there is nothing for landless poor, share croppers and farmers in distress,” he said.
The CM lauded some initiatives taken in the Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector.
“However, it does not suffice to meet the needs of employment generation in the country,” said the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) supremo.
Patnaik said he is “deeply disappointed” with the National Social Scheme.
“Old Age Pensions and other Pensions have not been revised at all. The state is covering 48 lakh beneficiaries with Rs. 500 per month, while Centre is giving Rs. 200 per month for 20 lakh beneficiaries only,” he said.
The Odisha CM also expressed his dissatisfaction at the allocation of SC/SC welfare, both in infrastructure and education.
“We have been requesting to restore the scholarship funds for SC students which has not been done,” said Patnaik.
Speaking on Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), he said: “The allocation for MGNREGS is lower than the allocation in the revised estimate. This will adversely affect timely wage payments.”
He further said the budget allocation on rural connectivity, rural housing and drinking water have been reduced or have remained at previous level.
“This is not encouraging,” he said.
The Odisha CM said the 14th Finance Commission recommended total transfer of Rs. 1,84,070 crore during the award period (2015-20).
“However, based on the actual receipts for 2015-18, revised estimates for 2018-19 and budget estimates for 2019-20, the state is going to receive only Rs. 1,57,828 crore,” said Patnaik.
“Thus, the state will be hit with a shortfall of Rs. 26,342 crore,” he added.