New Delhi, March 14: P. Chidambaram today presented a Rs 39,548.90 crore Jharkhand budget for fiscal 2013-14 with no new taxes, but rued the state’s ability to make good use of resources because of a severe governance deficit.
True to character, the Union finance minister, who presented the state’s budget in the Lok Sabha as Jharkhand was under President's rule, could not resist a dig at the condition of its finances.
“I may inform this House that the state of Jharkhand, unlike many other states, appears to be on the path of fiscal prudence. But this apparently happy outcome is the result of the state’s inability to raise resources or spend the resources allocated to it.
“I should be happy, but I am not. These outcomes should be achieved after the state has been able to raise resources for the Plan and achieve its Plan targets. I hope the state will see better days now and in the future,” Chidambaram said.
Listing Jharkhand’s perennial problems of recurrent political instability, governance deficit and the collapse of institutions, Chidambaram said the thrust of the budget was to give a boost to developmental activities with roads, agriculture, irrigation, power, education and skill development as focus areas.
Of the total budget, the Plan expenditure was slated at Rs 19,151.90 crore and non-Plan expenditure at Rs 20,397 crore. The Plan allocation included Rs 2351.90 crore from various central schemes.
The state revenue during the next fiscal was estimated to be Rs 33,598.90 crore.
Giving the break-up, Chidambaram said the state’s own revenue was likely to grow by 17 per cent to Rs 10,152.40 crore and state’s non-tax Plan revenue was likely to be Rs 4,167.13 crore.
While the grant-in aid from the Centre was to be Rs 9,926.85 crore, the state’s share of central taxes was projected at Rs 9,352.52 crore, an increase of 10 per cent. In addition, the state was expected to get Rs 5,950 crore from negotiated loans and open market borrowings.
Chidambaram said the people of the state continued to live in abject poverty and neglect despite Jharkhand having a rich endowment of forest and mineral resources. It had 29 per cent of the country’s coal reserves and 28 per cent of iron ore deposits, he pointed out.
Since road density in the state was less than half the national average, the budget allocated Rs 2,590 crore, which was 13.6 per cent of the total annual state Plan.
“This money will be used to complete 2,500km of ongoing road projects and 160 bridges. Besides, 1,800km new roads and 160 new bridge projects will be taken up in 2013-14. This is over and above 2,000km rural roads to be built under PMGSY,” Chidambaram said.
The budget has allocated Rs 1,001 crore for the power sector and has earmarked Rs 565 crore for the execution of transmission projects alone and pitched for speedy reforms in the power sector with the unbundling of Jharkhand State Electricity Board and setting up of new liability free generation, transmission and distribution companies.
“A bulb is yet to glow in nearly 3,000 villages (of Jharkhand) whose inhabitants live in darkness even after 66 years of Independence. Transmission losses are as high as 36 per cent. Poor transmission network is an area of serious concern,” Chidambaram pointed out.
The budget allocated Rs 790.85 crore for agriculture and Rs 1,944.60 crore for irrigation projects in the state.
The budget allocated Rs 360 crore for rural water supply scheme and Rs 65 crore for urban supply projects as only 62 per cent of habitations had safe potable water sources and piped water supply was available only to 3.7 per cent of rural population.
The budget allocated Rs 2,069.52 crore for education and skill development to tackle the issue of high dropout rate, poor quality of instructors and out of school children.
A sum of Rs 776.23 crore was allocated for the health sector as the indicators were very poor.
For bringing in direct benefit of welfare schemes to ST/SC and backward classes, the budget allocated Rs 1009.29 crore. “This amount will be spent mainly for the execution of schemes aimed at infrastructure creation, capacity building, skill development, promotion of livelihood, and improvement of human development indicators among the backward and disadvantaged groups,” Chidambaram said.