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Odisha Pre-Budget Meet: Experts Stress On 'Qualitative Expenditure' Within Deadline, ‘Output Outcome’


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17 June 2019

Debashish Maharana


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Bhubaneswar: Odisha Finance Minister Niranjan Pujari today held a crucial meeting with the former finance ministers of the State as well as experts on public finance affairs and sought their valuable opinions prior to the presentation of State’s Annual Budget-2019-20.

Attended by former finance ministers and finance secretaries of Odisha along with other experts on public finance, qualitative expenditure was stressed upon by all.

Talking to media, Odisha Finance Minister Niranjan Pujari said, “We had urged all the citizens of our State to give suggestions. We had also sought suggestions from various sectors. Today also we had invited all the former finance ministers. Also were invited former secretaries of finance. They have all presented their suggestions at length. We have noted those suggestions. Centre of Excellence and our staff were also present. Those suggestions will be examined by our various departments and would be included in our upcoming budget.”

In his media reactions, Odisha’s former finance minister Panchanan Kanungo said, “In today’s meeting, the agenda included why there has been reduction in revenue, how to increase revenue generation, increase in capital expenditure, priority on instant success like tourism, disaster management, small irrigation in agriculture sector, etc. Invitees were giving their proposals and suggestions.”

“I’ve put forth a proposal. Instead of demanding ‘special category’, the State Government should prepare a project on special package in this year’s budget. Funds should be allocated for the project. It is to be based on the regular disaster encountered by our State. As we are facing cyclone in an interval of two or three years, a green wall (of trees) of 10 km length must be developed along the coast. Another part of the project is coast canal that too river linking along the green wall. Special Package demand before the Centre would be more fruitful than the Special Category Status demand. Other affected States like Andhra and West Bengal will also cooperate in this demand,” the senior economist stressed.

Former Finance Minister Prafulla Chandra Ghadai opined, “Let the State budget be big in size. More funds expenditure should be made so that it could include health, education and infrastructural development, and also development of agriculture.”

He added, “Minimum wage of the workers should be increased. Instead of the present sanction of Rs 1.30 lakh to each beneficiary of the Pradhan Mantri Awas (PMAS) and Biju Pucca Ghar schemes, the amount should be enhanced to Rs 3 lakh.”

“As more funds required for a big budget, I have proposed that the State Government should take step to collect the arrear in shape of penalty running to a whooping Rs 68,000 crore from the illegal miners. If the Centre agrees to the Chief Minister’s request for the revision of coal royalty, it would also pave path for some more funds to the State Government. Last year the budgetary provision was of Rs 1,20,000 crore. By taking such steps, this year’s budget could be augmented,” Ghadai further opined.

“Everybody today laid stress that there should be qualitative expenditure of the budget. Funds must be expended within deadline. It has also been stressed by all on ‘output outcome’ i.e. proper expenditure and people also reaping the benefits. Hope, the State Government will present a good budget this year as the fiscal position of the State Government is good, revenue collection has also increased, growth rate is over 8%,” the former finance minister mentioned.       

Senior journalist and public finance expert Dilip Bisoi informed, “During the pre-budget meeting today, a very big opinion cropped up that 2019-20 fiscal year should be observed as ‘outcome output budget year’ by the State Government. Instead of enlarging the size of the budget, the State Government should lay utmost stress on the qualitative expenditure.”

He added, “Second major suggestion that came up was that revenue generation should be in a non-conventional way, because the scopes of State Government for revenue generation have been squeezed after the implementation of GST by the Centre. Hence, it is the need of the hour how to earn more revenue from non-conventional sources. Some revenue can be earned from the mines sector by collecting the penalty imposed on the mine owners. Ponds and tanks under the Panchayats can be given on lease basis for five years, etc.”       

He further stated, “Around Rs 6,000 crore is being extended to farmers as financial assistance under the KALIA scheme. Suggestion was given to club it with the farmer’s produce. Mainly, crop production, increase in its productivity, seed replacement, crop diversification, chiefly commercial crop ought to be preferred and modern farming. KALIA Yojana assistance should be used as an incentive for the purpose.”

“In 2018-19, the State Government’s budget was of Rs 1,20,000 crore. When the interim budget was presented in February, it has been of Rs 1,32,000 crore. Hope, the full budget will be of around Rs 1,35,000 crore,” the financial expert stated.

As the Odisha Finance Department had earlier sought public opinions on this vital matter online, official sources claimed that they have received over 3000 such opinions on the shape and size of the upcoming State Budget.  

As per the proclamation issued earlier, the first session of the 16th Odisha Legislative Assembly (OLA) is all set to begin from June 25 to August 8.

As per the provisional calendar, Governor’s Address & Motion of thanks on Governor’s Address will be on the inaugural day of June 25 while Presentation of Annual State Budget for the fiscal year 2019-2020 is slated on June 28.

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Niranjan Pujari, Minister, Finance, Odisha

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Panchanan Kanungo, Former Finance Minister, Odisha

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Prafulla Ghadai, Former Finance Minister, Odisha

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Dilip Bisoi, Public Finance Expert, Odisha