Following the presentation of the Union Budget 2024 by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Gujarat has become the first state to announce its budget for the fiscal year 2024-25. Gujarat Finance Minister Kanu Desai presented the budget today, stating that it will reflect the state government’s vision for the upcoming year and provide a roadmap for the next 25 years.
Key highlights of the Gujarat Budget 2024:
- Anganwadis Transformation: The government plans to transform 20,000 anganwadis into smart anganwadis and establish 8,000 new ones, with a total provision of Rs 55,114 crore.
- Enhanced Ahmedabad-Gandhinagar Connectivity: The Ahmedabad-Gandhinagar metro route will be extended to Ahmedabad International Airport and inner areas of Gift City. New bus services will be introduced, and bus stations will be modernized with the addition of 2000 new buses this year.
- Modernization of Fish Production Centers: An allocation of Rs 627 crore has been made for the modernization of these centers. Farmers will be given relaxation in high-speed diesel tax, and Rs 463 crore has been allocated for the relief of fishermen. Additionally, Rs 134 crore has been provided for the development of the fisheries industry.
- Development of Gandhinagar Gift City: The area of Gift City, to be developed as a Green City, will be expanded from 900 to 3300 acres. The city will be equipped with metro connectivity and Central Park facilities, and a ‘Walk to Work, Live and Play’ plan has been proposed. Rs 52 crore has been announced for setting up ‘Fin-Tech’ in Gift City, and Rs 100 crore for riverfront development works.
- Nirmal Gujarat 2.0 Scheme: In the 150th birth anniversary year of Mahatma Gandhi, the nationwide campaign of Swachh Bharat was started. To accelerate this commitment, Nirmal Gujarat 2.0 Abhiyan has been announced. Under this campaign, arrangements will be made through various schemes to collect and dispose of solid and liquid waste in an environmentally sound manner. For this, the budget has been increased from Rs 1300 crore to Rs 2500 crore for the next year.
- Strengthening Health Services: 319 new ambulances will be purchased, and advanced 300-bed hospitals will be built in Ahmedabad and Surat. A hospital will also be built near Bavla in Ahmedabad and Kamrej in Surat, with an allocation of Rs 76 crore.
- Budget Allocation for Various Departments: The Department of Health and Family Welfare has been allocated Rs 20,100 crore, the Department of Labor Skill Development and Employment Rs 2659 crore, the Department of Tribal Development Rs 4,374 crore, and the Department of Social Justice and Empowerment Rs 6193 crore.
- Infrastructure and Energy: The road and building department has been allocated Rs 22,163 crore, energy and petrochemicals Rs 8,423 crore, urban housing department Rs 21,696 crore, panchayat village housing and village development department Rs 12,138 crore, sports youth and cultural activities Rs 767 crore, Food Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Department Rs 2711 crore, and Women and Child Development Department Rs 6,885 crore.
- Agriculture and Water Resources: The Agriculture, Farmers and Cooperation Department has been allocated Rs 22,196 crore, the Science and Technology Department Rs 2,421 crore, Water Supply Rs 6242 crore, Water Resources Department Rs 11,535 crore, and Ports and Weight Management Rs 3,858 crore.
- Other Departments: The Information and Broadcasting Department has been allocated Rs 384 crore, the General Administration Department Rs 2,239 crore, the Revenue Department Rs 5195 crore, the Law Department Rs 2559 crore, the Home Department Rs 10,378 crore, the Climate Change Department Rs 1163 crore, the forest and environment department Rs 2,586 crore, the tourism department Rs 2,098 crore, and the industries and mines department Rs 9,220 crore. The PM Nutrition Scheme in the Gujarat budget has been allocated Rs 1,400 crore.
- Education Department: The budget has allocated Rs 55,114 crore for the education department. This includes the preparation of 15,000 new rooms in primary schools, construction of 45,000 smart classrooms, provision of 2 lakh computers in 15,000 schools, and the opening of 162 new government secondary schools. The Namo Saraswati Yojana has been earmarked Rs 250 crore to encourage students to study in the science stream. The Mission School of Excellence has been provided Rs 3,000 crore, and Rs 260 crore has been allocated for transport assistance to 1 lakh students of class 9 to 12.
- PM Yashaswi Scholarship Scheme: The scheme will be provided Rs 504 crore for 10 lakh students. Scholarships worth Rs 360 crore will be given to 40 lakh Scheduled Caste students. One lakh students of Scheduled Caste hostels and ashramshalas will receive Rs 335 crore. The Saraswati Sadhana Yojana will provide free bicycles to 1.5 lakh girls with an allocation of Rs 84 crore. Non-reserved classes will receive Rs 600 crore for educational loans.
- Department of Social Justice and Empowerment: The department has been provided Rs 6193 crore. This includes Rs 1398 crore for the annual pension to 11 lakh beneficiaries under the Economic Assistance Scheme, Rs 74 crore for monthly financial assistance to destitute children under the Foster Parents Scheme, and Rs 20 crore for the inter-caste marriage assistance scheme.
- Janrakshak Yojana: Under this scheme, 1100 Jan Rakshak vehicles will be provided.
- Municipal Corporation Status: Eight cities, namely Navsari, Gandhidham, Morbi, Vapi, Anand, Mehsana, Surendranagar, and Wadwan, have been granted Municipal Corporation status.
- Namo Saraswati Yojana: This scheme promotes education in science stream courses. Eligible poor and middle-class students studying in the science stream of higher secondary schools will be assisted with Rs 10,000 in class 11 and Rs 15,000 in Class 12. The scheme is expected to increase the number of students in the science stream from 2 lakh to 5 lakh annually in the next five years, costing approximately Rs 400 crore next year.
- Namo Shree Yojana: This scheme for pregnant and lactating mothers has been allocated Rs 750 crore.
- Namo Lakshmi Yojana: This scheme aims to promote the nutrition, health, and education of girls from Class 9 to Class 10. About 10 lakh eligible girl students in government, aided, and private secondary and higher secondary schools will be given an assistance of Rs 10,000 per annum for Class-9 and 10 and Rs 15,000 per annum for Class-11 and 12.
- Budget for FY25: The Finance Minister has presented a budget of Rs 3 lakh 32 thousand 465 crore for FY 25.
- Namo Lakshmi Yojana for Women: This scheme has been allocated Rs 1,250 crore, benefiting 10 lakh female students.
Key highlights of the Gujarat Budget 2024 also include the transformation of the Kutch region into a prosperous area following the earthquake, a testament to Prime Minister Modi’s ability to turn disaster into opportunity. Finance Minister Kanu Desai announced a state growth rate of 14.9 percent.
The budget session is set to conclude on February 29. Veteran BJP leader and former finance minister Vajubhai Vala holds the record for presenting the budget a record 18 times, during the governments of Keshubhai Patel from 1998 to 2001 and Narendra Modi from 2002 onwards.
In response to the national budget, Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel expressed that it addresses the requirements of all segments of society. However, the opposition Congress party deemed the budget ineffective, citing its failure to provide relief from high taxes. In a post, CM Patel remarked, “The interim budget presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, under the guidance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is poised to fulfill the aspirations of millions of people in the country. It encompasses all the necessary elements to cater to every stratum of society.”
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