In a bonanza for farmers ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, the Rajasthan government on Thursday announced an additional annual payout of Rs 2,000 to farmers under the Centre's flagship scheme PM-KISAN as well as hiked the minimum support price for wheat by Rs 125 to Rs 2,400 per quintal.
Presenting the BJP government's first Budget after the party was voted to power in December last year, Rajasthan Deputy Chief Minister and Finance Minister Diya Kumari accused the previous Congress government of financial mismanagement.
In the Budget, she also announced an allocation of Rs 1,000 crore to establish and upgrade schools, colleges, hospitals, and administrative buildings in "deprived" assembly constituencies.
Besides, the government will provide free education from "KG to PG" (Kindergarten to Post Graduation) for students from low-income groups, small and marginal farmers, and farm labourers.
Kumari, who presented the interim Budget for 2024-25, has made a provision of Rs 2,000 crore for Rajasthan Agriculture Infra Mission, Gopal Credit Card scheme on the lines of the Kisan Credit Card scheme to provide short-term loans for dairy activities.
Highlighting the debt of Rs 1.39 lakh crore on power companies, she said that plans to ensure resources adequacy and business operations of these companies will be made with the help of experts.
The government also plans to carry out recruitments to fill 70,000 posts.
In a boost for farmers, the BJP government will dole out an additional Rs 2,000 taking the total amount to Rs 8,000 per annum to farmers under the PM Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) scheme.
At present, Rs 6,000 is given every year by the Centre under the scheme.
In another significant announcement, the Minimum Support Price (MSP) for wheat, a major rabi crop in the state, has been hiked to Rs 2,400 from Rs 2,275 per quintal.
The interim Budget, with an outlay of Rs 1.75 lakh crore, has been passed by the state assembly for the first four months of financial year 2024-25.
The House also passed the Rajasthan Appropriation (vote on account) (no.2)-2024, demands for supplementary grants and the Rajasthan Appropriation (no.1) bill-2024 by a voice vote.
Kumari said the burden on the state doubled during the tenure of the previous government to Rs 5.79 lakh crore.
The Congress government took a loan of Rs 2.24 lakh crore but the capital expenditure was only Rs 93,577 crore, she said.
Since 2004, chief ministers, who were holding the finance portfolio, were presenting the state Budget. This is the first in two decades that a full-time finance minister has presented the Budget.
An additional Rs 500 crore has been allocated to State Road Fund to strengthen the road network.
The finance minister also set a target to set up rooftop solar plants on more than 5 lakh houses in the state, adding that such houses will get up to 300 units of free electricity per month.
As many as 500 electric buses will be introduced for public transport in cities like Jaipur, Udaipur, Jodhpur, and Kota, she said.
Further, Kumari announced Mukhyamantri Jal Swavlamban Abhiyan-2.0 that will create 5 lakh water harvesting structures in 20,000 villages over the next four years, for which Rs 11,200 crore has been allocated.
"The previous government did not approve any plan for many areas like Ladpura, Nasirabad, Siwana, Ahor, Dag, Malpura. Now, to ensure regional balance of development, Rs 1,000 crore has been announced for setting up and upgrading additional colleges, schools, hospitals, and administrative buildings," she said.
The minister said a Detailed Project Report to expand Jaipur Metro from Sitapura to Ambabari will be prepared to address the traffic congestion problem in Jaipur city.
To provide facilities of software coding, robotics fab lab and multimedia, she announced 'Atal Innovation Studio and Accelerators' in Jaipur, Bikaner, Bharatpur and Udaipur. A financial provision of Rs 1,000 crore was made for the purpose, she said.
Kumari said a High Tech City near Jaipur will be established where special incentives will be given to set up institutions and companies related to IT, fintech, financial management, and new-age subjects.
The finance minister also announced Mission Olympics 2028 to train 50 youths for the quadrennial showpiece event.
Further, the state government introduced a 'Lado Protsahan Yojna' in which a bond of Rs 1 lakh will be given to poor families on the birth of a girl child.
She announced a plan to add daycare package for cancer treatment in inpatient department under Mukhymantri Ayushman Arogya Yojna. The facility is available in Outpatient Department (OPD).
Mukhymantri Ayushman Arogya Yojna was formerly known as Mukhymantri Chiranjeevi scheme, which was introduced by the former Congress government.
The state government also introduced a CM Vishwakarma Pension scheme for labourers and street vendors. As part of the scheme, labourers in the 18-45 age group who pay a premium of Rs 60-100 will get a monthly pension of Rs 2,000 on attaining 60 years of age.
Other announcements by the government included increase in rebate in roadways buses from 30 per cent to 50 per cent to senior citizens, doorstep delivery of medicines to employees and pensioners under Rajasthan Government Health Scheme (RGHS), 10 per cent increase in honorarium of anganwadi workers, homeguards, and others.
The government also allocated Rs 200 crore for Police Modernisation and Infrastructure Fund, Rs 300 crore to develop 20 temples and religious places. It abolished the mandi tax on sugar and jaggery.
During her speech, Kumari accused the previous Congress government of financial mismanagement, lack of vision, corruption and wrong policies, leading to an Opposition uproar in the assembly.
Amid the din, Chief Minister Bhajanlal Sharma requested members to listen to the Budget speech "by a woman finance minister".
Leader of opposition Tikaram Jully said there is no objection over the presentation of a vote on account by a woman minister but said it was inappropriate to make political allegations in it.
The state government will present a full Budget in July.