Bhubaneswar:9/2/21: The Odisha council of ministers on Tuesday approved the annual State budget for 2021-22 financial year which will be tabled in the State Assembly on February 22.
The annual State budget having a total outlay of Rs 1.70 lakh crore has been approved by the cabinet. However, no official briefing was made on the budget outlay after the meeting.
According to sources, the government may hike the size of the annual budget this year despite the challenges of Covid-19 pandemic. Health, infrastructure, industry, MSME, rural economy, social sector, education, agriculture and women empowerment may be given top priorities in the budget.
As thousands of people lost their livelihood due to the pandemic, providing employments to people will be a top priority for the government. Accordingly, the government will also focus on the development of infrastructure.
Similarly, the health sector will be given priority in view of the ongoing pandemic. Besides, industry, MSME, rural economy, social sector, women empowerment, education, and agriculture will be given focus in the annual budget.
It is believed that the government may announce some new schemes for the panchayati raj and urban development department in view of the upcoming gram panchayati and urban local bodies elections in the State.
There are possibilities of budgetary provision for Sri Jagannath temple heritage corridor, Lingaraj temple peripheral development and development of other shrines. Besides, the budgetary allocation may also be made for the expansion of SCB Medical College and Hospital in Cuttack.
“The focus will be on social welfare schemes and agriculture while preparing the annual budget. Though there will be some impact of the union budget on the State budget, it will certainly be a people-friendly welfare budget,” said former finance minister, Sashi Bhusan Behera.
Meanwhile, some opined that reduction in the central taxes and grant-in-aid may affect the annual State budget as about 50 per cent of the budget is financed by revenue receipts from the central taxes and grant-in-aid.
Apart from the State’s revenue collection which has been adversely hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, Odisha’s horizontal share will decrease from 4.629% to 4.528% for the coming five years as per the recommendations of the 15th Finance Commission.
According to experts, as the government is likely to hike the budget size, it will have to borrow money from other sources to adjust the shortfall as the State is already sitting on debt burden of over Rs 1 lakh crore.