Congress govt's Budget in MP to spend Rs 132 crore on 1000 cow shelters

Madhya Pradesh CM Kamal Nath announces farm loan waiver on Monday, December 17, 2018. Photo: @ANI
The Congress government's first Budget in Madhya Pradesh on Wednesday allocated Rs 132 crore for setting up a thousand cow shelters, developing a "Ram Path" and increasing honorarium for priests.

It did not impose any new taxes.

"Ram Path" or "Ram Van Gaman Path" is the mythological route, a part of which falls in Madhya Pradesh, taken by Lord Ram on his way to 14-year exile.

The cow shelters will be developed by pooling resources allocated for MGNREGA, ATMA and state government sources, Finance Minister Tarun Bhanot told the legislative assembly. 

For industrial development of the state, pilot projects would be conducted for a separate ‘Land Pooling Policy’

The state government also proposed in the Budget to rope in the corporate sector and the financially capable temples for bovine welfare. It also raised the grant for existing cow shelters to Rs 20 per cow from Rs 4.

Chief Kamal Nath's government also hiked grants for the state Waqf Board and the Haj committee and announced a three-fold hike in the honorarium for the priests of registered temples.

Bhanot said a separate "Pujari Kalyan Kosh" (priest welfare fund) would be set up along with a separate trust for temples and rivers.

For farmers, the Kamal Nath government allocated Rs 8,000 crore to waive the remaining loans of farmers in the state. "The state government has written off loans worth Rs 7,000 crore of 20 lakh farmers within 128 days of coming to power," Bhanot said.

Waiver off of farm loans was one of the Congress party's main poll planks in the state assembly polls held in November last year.

The budget with the size of over Rs 2.33 lakh crore increased outlay for the agriculture sector by 66 per cent to Rs 22,736 crore from the previous fiscal's Rs 13,665 crore.

With a revenue surplus of Rs 732.63 crore, the budget proposes to increase allocation for the health sector by 32 per cent from Rs 11,434 crore in the last Financial Year to Rs 15,150 crore in the current fiscal.

The total revenue receipts for the year 2019-20 are estimated to be Rs 1,79,353 crores which include Rs 65,273 crore from state's own tax revenue, Rs 63,750 crore as Central taxes, Rs 13,968 crore as non-tax revenue and Rs 36,360 crore as Central grants.

The budget has made a provision of Rs 1600 crore towards wheat bonus at the rate of Rs 160 per quintal.

Union agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar, a former president of the BJP's Madhya Pradesh unit, said the government has hardly allocated any money for farmers though it won elections by wooing them. In a series of tweets, Tomar said the Madhya Pradesh Budget hardly contains anything for rural development or job creation.

Finance Minister Bhanot alleged the previous BJP government had misused the money taken as loan from various lenders, which he said resulted into the state slipping to 27th position among 29 states in the poverty index, which the Economic Survey tabled in state assembly on Tuesday showed. 

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