Bihar government recently presented the budget worth of Rs. 1,44,696 crore for the fiscal year 2016-17. The budget for this year is Rs. 24,010 crore more than the previous year budget, a 40 percent increment in the amount. Finance Minister Abdul Bari Siddiqui presented the budget starting with focus on CM Nitish Kumar’s seven-point development program – youth employment and skill development, 35 per cent quota for women in government jobs, electricity in every home, clean drinking water for all households and sewage disposal, sanitation, road infrastructure and higher education.
Considering the allocation of budget to education sector, Nitish government has depicted its commitment towards improving the education system. The expenses on this sector will be around Rs. 10,950 crore which is equal to 15.31% of the total plan. Besides that, Chief Minister has also made sure that electricity connection will be provided to each and every household. After education, energy sector is the one which will be given much importance. The budget allocated to this sector is Rs. 9,658 crore, 13.51% of the total plan.
The previous government of the state have given priority to the road and health sector, while this time, these sectors were pushed to number five and six in the table of priority. The budget allocated to road sector is Rs. 5,954 crore and that to health sector is Rs. 5,348 crore. Talking about the overall budget, education sector has been allocated Rs. 21,897 crore while that of energy sector has been allocated Rs. 14,367 crore. This overall budget includes both planned and non-planned expenditure. While the growth of higher education system in Bihar is very sluggish, this budget promises to be a turn-around.
The budget was presented by the Finance Minister of the state Abdul Bari Siddiqui, who while presenting the budget, laid special importance to election promises of ‘fulfilling seven resolutions’ made by Nitish Kumar. These seven resolutions include schemes like credit card for student and allowing the youth to incur expenses while looking for a job. In the budget, they did not introduce any new tax, though they have already hiked VAT, value added tax on 20 items. The minister was also asked about the loss of Rs. 4,000 crore on the excise duty with the ban of the country-made liquor from April, to which he replied they have taken the required measures and they will ensure that they get Rs. 5,000 crore plus revenue as compared to last year.
BJP leader and former deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi does not seem to be satisfied with the budget. According to him, they have not made right kind of provisions for the seven resolutions that was hyped a lot. He feels that the revenue collection is not satisfactory. “Given the allocations, Nitish will find it hard to implement his resolves even in the next 20 years,” he said.