The ruling BJD's increased allocations to various sectors in the state budget 2009-10 will fall far short of requirements and mainly go towards covering salary bills, proclaimed panelists at a post-budget discussion organised here today. The budget does not reflect the promises made by the ruling BJD in its electoral manifesto, observed the participants which included former finance minister Mr P Kanungo, former minister Mr Ganeswar Behera, MLA Mr Pratap Sarangi and others like Mr Parasuram Nayak, and Mr Surendra Jena.
They said that the "real" expenditure meant to improve or expand services in the social sector has not increased. Citing several instances, the members of the panel pointed out that the Rs 400 crore increase in allocations to the health sector would be gobbled up by increased or revised salary payments.
The BJD had promised to mobilise health units in each and every block of the state which should have meant that all 314 blocks would receive one unit. Presently only 14 blocks have received this, and the budget has not made any allocation to increase this number.
Of the Rs 266 crore allocated for primary healthcare centres, salary and wages alone account for Rs 259 crore of the total.
The election manifesto of the ruling BJD had also promised a full fledged hospital in every block, yet funds for this have not been allocated in the budget either. Further poll promises which do not appear in the budget include a health insurance scheme for all school children, technical education in all blocks, and scholarships for poor students. The commitment to provide free power and loans at three percent rate of interest in the agricultural sector are also missing, they said.
Finance Minister Mr PC Ghadei, however, maintained that allocations to the social sector had increased. He pointed out that the promises made in the manifesto of the party are meant to be implemented over a five year period and one should not expect the first year budget to fulfill all promises.
Mr Ghadei also said that the participants should bear in mind that revenue generation had suffered a significant set back due to the impact of the global economic recession.
He further outlined the various developments incorporated in the state budget 2009-10 that makes it a populist and pro-poor-village orientated budget. He reflected on the increase in the allocation of capital expenditure and emphasized that the state had proved itself by initiating its own schemes based on its own needs rather than merely implementing Centrally Sponsored Schemes.
The discussion was organized by CYSD, a NGO, and its member Mr Pravas Mishra provided a detailed in depth analysis of the state budget.