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CHANDIGARH

Haryana Vidhan Sabha Budget session: ‘In budget, agri allocation up 21%, irrigation got 75% more’

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Amid ongoing farm agitation, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar Tuesday said that he dedicated the state budget to farmers with a special focus on the irrigation and agriculture sector.

The Chief Minister, who also holds the Finance portfolio, was giving his reply in the House on discussion on budget presented on March 12.

He said that Rs 5,052 crore was earmarked for the agriculture sector in the previous budget, which has been increased to Rs 6111 crore in for the 2021-22 fiscal, registering a hike of 20.9 per cent. He said that the members of the opposition are talking about reduction in budget allocation to the agricultural sector, while the reality is that it has been increased.

Similarly, the previous year’s budget estimates for irrigation was Rs 2892 crore, whereas for next fiscal it has been increased by 65 per cent to Rs 5,081 crore. He informed the House that a big portion would be spent on renovation work of Western Yamuna Canal from Hathnikund Barrage to Bhaloth Branch. Similarly, big projects would be implemented under micro irrigation projects and expression of interest has been invited for this.

Khattar said that data has a special significance in the budget estimates. “Agriculture and irrigation sectors are ultimately for the farmers and farming, therefore, I am dedicating this budget to the farmers,” he added.

While replying to the allegations levelled by Congress MLA Kiran Choudhry “over the difference between figures of Prime Minister Crop Insurance Scheme beneficiaries mentioned in the Hindi and English version of the budget copies,” the CM said that para 56 states that Rs 9,14,273 has been covered for insurance to farmers, while in English it is Rs 9.14 lakh, which is same thing. “Does Mrs Kiran Choudhry not know the decimal formula?” he questioned. “If this number was 9,14,773 in Hindi, then it would have been written in English as 9.15 lakh which is natural.”

The CM said that similarly, Choudhry has levelled allegations over decrease in the electricity subsidy by Rs 440 crore. “The reduction in electricity subsidy is indicative of the fact that the government has stopped power theft and the performance of power companies has improved. Now the power companies are in profit, as a result, they have presented a dividend check of Rs 115 crore to the state government,” said Khattar. Likewise, the CM said, Choudhary has accused wastage of crores of rupees in the name of Saraswati River. “Saraswati is a symbol of our culture and it is a matter of great pride that its origin is Adibadri near Yamunanagar, which is being developed through the formation of the State Saraswati Heritage Board. The annual budget of the board is merely Rs 1.15 crore,” said Khattar.

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The Chief Minister also assured the House that despite Covid-19, “we have been able to maintain the norms of fiscal responsibility and finance management and are in a far better position than our neighboring states of Punjab and Rajasthan”.

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Khattar said that his government has decided that all families with Rs 1.8 lakh annual income will be considered as BPL family. “If a family’s monthly income is less than Rs 15,000, they should be given benefits of a BPL card. Such families get benefits of Rs 15,000-20,000 annually,” said Khattar.

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