Odisha Finance Minister Niranjan Pujari on Friday presented a supplementary Budget of Rs 11,200 crore for the current financial year with a focus on the state's COVID-19 response.
"Today I presented the first Supplementary Statement of Expenditure for 2020-21 for Rs 11,200 crore in the Legislative Assembly for approval. The approach in this year's supplementary Budget is re-prioritisation of the allocations, with the pandemic being in the centre of our focused efforts. As a green initiative, we have presented the budget in electronic form," Pujari said in a press briefing.
"The supplementary provision of Rs 11,200 crore comprises of Rs 2,273 crore towards the administrative expenditure, Rs 7,438 crore towards programme expenditure, Rs 1,484 crore towards disaster management funds and Rs 5 crore towards transfer to local bodies," he added.
He specified that adequate provision has been made to cover advance salary and other incentives to health workers as well as the frontline COVID warriors under the administrative expenditure.
"Under programme expenditure, priority is given to the health sector; rural employment and livelihoods; food security; education; fisheries and ARD; MSME; handlooms, textiles and handicrafts; and infrastructure sectors. All requirements in the health sector for COVID response such as medicine, equipment and kits, station etc. are fully funded," the finance minister stated.
The minister accepted that the response to the pandemic forced a lockdown of the economy, which adversely affected the revenue realisation by the state government.
"During the first half of the current financial year, total revenue receipt declined by about 6.5 per cent mainly due to a shortfall in the central transfer. During the period, the state's own revenue showed moderate growth of 1.7 per cent in spite of the impact of the pandemic. Till the end of September 2020, we have a revenue surplus of Rs 6,790 crore and the cumulative debt stock is Rs 97,823 crore, which is 16.4 per cent of GSDP," he said.
Earlier, the annual Budget for the financial year 2020-21 was presented in the Odisha Legislative Assembly on February 18, 2020, for Rs 1,50,000 crore with a capital outlay of Rs 26,513 crore. However, with the COVID-19, the priorities for the year had to be adjusted to save lives and livelihoods, Finance Minister Pujari said.
"For the last eight months, we are focused on our fight against the pandemic. With a higher recovery rate, the number of active cases has also come down. The World Health Orgzation in their article, "From governance to community resilience: Odisha's response to COVID-19" has applauded the Odisha model of COVID management," he said.
"However, we have to continue our cautious approach, as the possibility of another wave of COVID-19 infections, as observed in other countries, cannot be ruled out. The state government will continue doing, what it takes, to save lives and livelihoods. As a part of the COVID management strategy, Hon'ble chief minister has made several announcements and packages related to the MSME sector; COVID-19 warrior special assistance; incentives to health workers; handloom, textile and handicraft sector; Mission Shakti beneficiaries, agriculture sector etc. Besides, some major projects have been identified for completion in a time-bound manner," he stated.
( With inputs from ANI )
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