State budget 2019-20: A budget for a brighter future

[ Hari Krishna Paliwal ]
Arunachal Pradesh budget 2019-20 is a budget with a vision to create a new Arunachal and make it the most developed and the happiest state.
It reflects the will and commitment of the Pema Khandu government to lay stress on and maintain strict fiscal discipline by fixing the target of fiscal deficit at 1.86 percent of the GSDP as against 3.43 percent last year, and within the target of 3 percent of the GSDP, as per the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act, and also to take the state to greater heights.
The quantum jump in revenue generation reflects the government’s willingness to go the extra mile to earn resources to meet the financial needs of the state. It is a progressive budget aimed to cater to the aspirations of all sections of Arunachal society.
Whereas scores of new schemes have been announced for socioeconomic and infrastructure development, care has also been taken to provide for maintenance of existing infrastructure as well as welfare schemes. Emphasis has been laid on asset-creation by increasing the capital expenditure from Rs 7821.64 crore in 2018-19 to Rs 8602.19 crore in 2019-20.
Arunachal being a developing state needs a big push for investment and also vigorous efforts in the primary sector.
Finance Minister Chowna Mein has been generous in allocating resources for agriculture and allied sectors, and more so for diversification of the traditional agriculture practices to more modern, mechanized and diversified activities in agriculture and related sectors, including emphasis on horticulture crops, pisciculture, etc.
Special importance has been accorded to welfare schemes, including those in the health, education and other social welfare sectors, by providing adequate funding in these sectors. The stress on a comprehensive state road plan and on urban infrastructure will provide a boost to various economic activities, including tourism, for which excellent infrastructure facilities are a prerequisite.
One of the prominent features of this budget which distinguishes it from the previous ones is a directional shift leading to jumpstarting the implementation of schemes and projects as soon as the budget is passed. It is a departure from the earlier practice by way of including schemes and projects in the budget after finalizing them, so as to save colossal wastage of time and money by their timely sanction and implementation.
Another key feature of the budget is the direct and indirect emphasis on employment generation in all the three sectors of economy, including agriculture and allied sectors, manufacturing (including mining), and services. Further, for facilitating it, various activities, such as skill development, entrepreneurship development, industrial development, establishment of Arunachal haat, and such, have been duly provided for in the budget.
For timely implementation of various developmental and welfare schemes, provision has been made for a robust system to be put in place for strict monitoring.
Overall, budget 2019-20 is a budget with innovative thinking and a clear vision for laying the foundation for a brighter future and a developed Arunachal. (The writer is a former chief secretary and present advisor to the government of Arunachal Pradesh)