Sops galore in Rajasthan Budget
Jaipur: Apparently with an eye on polls later this year, Rajasthan government in Budget 2013-14 on Wednesday unveiled a series of populist measures like wheat at Re 1 per kg, free sarees and blanket to poor and proposed doing away with land tax.
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, who also holds the finance portfolio, announced several other concessions in his Budget speech in the state Legislative Assembly.
He announced proposal to give two sarees for women and one blanket for men of BPL families, and also to those who are getting benefits similar to the BPL, for free.
Implementation of Krishna Bhatnagar committee, related with revised pay-bands of the state employees as per sixth pay commission from July 1, 2013 was another important announcement.
Gehlot announced that the government will provide Rs 1 lakh from Chief Minister`s relief fund to APL patients with annual income of Rs 1 lakh for treatment of cancer, kidney and heart ailments.
BPL patients will get free treatment in government hospitals for these ailments and will also get Rs 1 lakh as financial assistance if they get treatment in some identified private hospitals.
Community halls, inns and marriage gardens in towns and villages with one lakh population were exempted from luxury tax. Some commodities including Sabut Jeera (cumin), Sonf (fennel seeds) were proposed to be made VAT free.
In a bid to curb provide relief from inflation, Gehlot announced plans to make wheat and sugar cheaper for BPL families. BPL families will get wheat at Re 1 per kg, instead of Rs 2 per kg and sugar on Rs 10 per kg instead of Rs 13.50 kg earlier.
Gehlot also proposed to increase the number of generic medicines, which are distributed free in government hospitals under chief minister free medicines scheme, from present 400 to 600. He also announced launch of free medical testing scheme from April 7 initially in medical colleges, district hospitals and satellite hospitals under which tests like ECG, X-ray, sonography and other tests will be made free.
The scheme will have its second phase from July 1 under which all the 428 Community Health Centres (CHC) will be covered. In the third phase of the scheme from Independence day, the facility of free testing will be made available for free in all the 1, 649 city dispensaries, he said.
The poll-bound state imposed new tax proposals to earn approximately Rs 310 crore and gave relief worth Rs 400 crore.
Gehlot proposed a plan size of Rs 40,139 crore with a budgetary surplus of Rs 336.52 crore and estimated fiscal deficit of Rs 13,019.86 crore with revenue receipt of Rs 77,220.60 crore for the financial year 2013-14.
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