Gujarat Finance Minister Kanu Desai on Thursday presented the BJP government’s last budget before Assembly elections, choosing to levy no new taxes and making the highest allocation for education. The budget estimated an overall surplus of Rs 560.09 crore. Assembly polls are due in Gujarat later this year.
The budget for 2022-23 proposed an outlay of Rs 2,43,965 crore, nearly Rs 17,000 crore more than the previous year. It allotted the highest Rs 34,884 crore to the education sector, followed by Rs 15,568 crore to the energy and petrochemicals department, Rs 14,297 crore to urban development, Rs 12,240 crore to health and family welfare and Rs 12,024 crore to the road and building department.
Desai told the House that the budget focused mainly on providing social security, fighting malnutrition and creating new infrastructure. Rs 500 crore were earmarked for a new scheme to help people run cow shelters. The finance minister also announced that a drone research and development centre and training institutions will be set up in the state to promote the use of drones in agriculture, land measurement, health and maintenance of law and order.
The state government will also establish a medical university to promote medical education and research, he said. As many as 50 “Jnan Shakti” residential schools will be started in the state, the finance minister said, allocating Rs 90 crore for the scheme. The schools will provide quality education to one lakh talented students, Desai said.
The budget also proposed a significant hike in the pension of senior citizens and physically challenged persons under various schemes.
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