The Gujarat government, on Friday, tabled a Rs 3.01 lakh crore budget for the financial year 2023-24. The budgetary provisions have a 23 per cent increase when compared to the last financial year.
This is the ruling BJP government’s first budget after the party secured a landslide victory in the December 2022 assembly elections, winning 156 out of the 182 assembly seats.
While presenting the budget, Finance Minister Kanu Desai said no new taxes have been proposed. The government has given emphasis to the development of infrastructural facilities; Rs 5 lakh crore will be spent over the next five years for the purpose.
Metro projects in Ahmedabad and Surat have got an allocation of Rs 905 crore.
The Gujarat government has also made a provision of Rs 200 crore to cover the equity contribution of Ahmedabad-Mumbai Bullet Train Project, a dream project of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The much talked about Sabarmati Riverfront Project in Ahmedabad will be extended till the GIFT City in Gandhinagar and Rs 150 crore have been allocated for it.
The government also announced the opening of new medical colleges in four districts, including three in tribal-dominated districts of Arvali, Chhotaudepur and Dangs.
Rs 75 crore has been earmarked to provide bicycles to two lakh students from scheduled and developing castes.
Provision has also been made to give financial assistance to students who have studied up to Class VIII, to help the study in private schools.
The finance minister announced an allocation of Rs 178 crore for the maintenance of the Narmada Main Canal. Rs 1,082 crore has been set aside to complete the work of Kutch branch canal.
Narmada Project has always been a key electoral issue and the BJP has been reiterating that the delay in the project was due to the previous governments at the Centre.
Desai promised to double the insurance limit to Rs 10 lakh for eligible families under Pradhanmantri Jan Arogya MA Scheme.
The opposition, Congress and AAP, criticised the budget, with Congress leader Amit Chavda pointing out that the Amrit Kal budget has failed to provide nectar to the masses.
Alleging that the BJP has forgotten the masses after the victory, Chavda said the youth were expecting some announcements of job recruitments, but these have not been mentioned.
He also said the state government is in debt but nobody is talking about it.
Gujarat unit president of AAP Isudan Ghadvi alleged that the budget provides nothing for the farmers and fishermen. Alleging that the budget is directionless, Ghadvi claimed that allotment in the education sector has been done due to the fear of the AAP.