AP Singh during a news conference in the Assembly on Friday. (Prashant Mitra)
Ranchi, Feb. 21: The primary architect of today’s state budget for 2014-15, finance secretary A.P. Singh, has termed the exercise as a “balanced approach” to ensure every sector got its due share.
The government, he explained, had set aside a whopping Rs 4,225 crore for rural roads, state highways and national highways. “This is 16 per cent of the total Plan head which itself explains the government’s focus to better overall infrastructure,” he said. Besides, social sector spending would be 44 per cent of the Plan size.
For the first time, Singh said, a special interest rebate for prospective women entrepreneurs had been declared wherein the state government has promised them 2 per cent concession on bank loans.
“This is to promote entrepreneurship among women. The government of Jharkhand would reimburse two per cent of the interest on loans availed by women entrepreneurs,” he told The Telegraph today.
Singh felt that lakhs of farmers had also been given their due share as the state government would waive taxes on KCC (kisan credit cards) to the tune of 2 per cent.
At present, interest rates for farmers who had availed of loans, was around 7 per cent. While the Centre relaxes 3 per cent, the additional state waiver of 2 per cent meant peasants would now pay only 2 per cent against loans they took for agricultural purposes.
The senior IAS officer added that the increase in monthly honorarium from Rs 1,500 to Rs 2,250 would also help thousands of mini anganwadi sevikas who played an active role in implementing women and child developmental schemes in rural areas. Also, the government has increased allocation for helping those fighting critical diseases from Rs 1.50 lakh to Rs 2.50 lakh with the scheme now being made available to families with annual income up to Rs 72,000.
Earlier, this scheme was meant exclusively for BPL families. To promote institutional deliveries, expecting mothers in rural areas would now get Rs 1,750 against the existing Rs 1,400. In urban areas the amount has been increased to Rs 1,250 from Rs 1,000.
Sahiyas, who work under the health, medical education & family planning department, would now get Rs 450 per delivery against the existing Rs 350. This would benefit 40,000 of sahiyas who work in rural areas and encourage women to opt for delivery in government health set-ups.
The scheme to provide cycles for girl students and sahiyas has been reworked. Now, the government would transfer funds into bank accounts of beneficiaries — a la the model initiated by Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar.