Chhattisgarh govt presents Rs 76,032 crore budget for 2017-18

Raipur: Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh today presented the annual budget of Rs 76,032 crore for 2017-18 in the state legislative assembly giving thrust on digital inclusion and infrastructure development.

"The budget focuses on welfare of poorest of poor and inclusive growth," Singh, who also holds the Finance portfolio, said in his budget speech.

In a major initiative, the state government announced to launch Suchna Kranti Yojna (SKY) under which 45 lakh smartphones will be provided to family belonging to below poverty line (BPL) and college students. The beneficiaries would also get SIM cards along with the phone.

"A provision of Rs 200 crore (for 2017-18) has been made for the first phase of the scheme, which will be fully implemented over a period of 2-2.5 years," the CM told reporters on the Assembly premises.

He added that the scheme is expected to attract an investment of Rs 900 crore.

Under the 'Bastar Net' project, 'digital information highway' will be set up in Bastar division (a Left Wing Extremism affected region), the CM said.

"800 km optical fiber cables will be laid in the Bastar region for the expansion of Internet and other digital services," he added.

Besides, 12,348 fair price shops in the state are being linked to digital payment mode.

"In the first phase, Public Distribution System (PDS) in five districts- Dhantari, Mahasamund, Balod, Raigarh and Rajandgaon, will go cashless," he added.

The state budget underlined that the estimated expenditure is 7.58 per cent higher than the revised estimate of 2016-17.

While the revenue surplus is estimated at Rs 4,781 crore, the Gross fiscal deficit is estimated at Rs 9,647 crore, which is 3.49 per cent of the GSDP.

The budget allocates 36 per cent of expenditure in development heads for scheduled tribe sector and 12 per cent for the scheduled caste sector.

The social sector expenditure is estimated at 41 per cent and economic sector expenditure is 38 per cent of the total expenditure.

"A Divyang (specially-abled people) college at a cost of Rs 2.56 crore will be set up at Raipur for educational upliftment of special children," the CM said. .

PTI