Bhubaneswar, Feb 22: Odisha Finance Minister Niranjan Pujari will present the State Annual Budget 2021-22 in the Assembly today.
This will be the third budget for Pujari under the Naveen Patnaik Government and will be presented at around 5 pm.
Moreover, taking into account the pandemic load on the economy it is pertinent to mention here that the finance minister will be having a tough task to meet challenges evolving out of the same. His priorities will be to make provisions for job creations in the State post Covid-19 onslaught.
Similarly, the drastic reduction of the State’s share in Central taxes will be another key factor which needs special care while preparing the budget this year.
As per the recommendations of the 15th Finance Commission, Odisha is going to get lower share in Central taxes by Rs 10,840 crore and decrease of the horizontal share from 4.629 per cent to 4.528 per cent for next five years.
Experts say crucial sectors like MSME, health, sports, tourism and infrastructure sectors are very likely to witness steep rises in allocations in the first pandemic budget in Pujari’s career this time. The burning challenges of liquidity and access to loans for small business owners and MSME due to the Covid lockdown will be the specific points which the budget will touch, they hope.
Notably, an allocation of Rs 15,700 crore has been made for the MSME sector in the Union Budget 2021-22, which is almost double of the previous budget allocation. Odisha Government might choose the same path and hike the allocation level by 80% to meet the MSME challenge.
As far as allocating fund for several of its flagship programmes like Kalia, Mission Shakti, Biju Swasthya Kalyan and Ama Gaon Ama Bikash will be a tough task for the finance minister in view of the reduction in Central assistance and adverse impact of Covid-19 on the State economy.
As per an earlier notification issued by the Odisha Assembly, the Budget session started with the Governor’s address on February 18. It will be conducted in two phases from February 18 to 27 and from March 12 to April 9.
The Appropriation Bill for 2021-22 will be presented on March 31.