Odisha State Budget 2018 Fall Short in terms of Promises 

Berhampur: A panel discussion held on Odisha State Budget 2018-19 in Department of Economics, Berhampur University. The basic objective of this discussion to understand the budget and take the view point of academia and civil society; engage students and scholars to demystify budget and involve them in budget advocacy and to critically present the budget accountability and governance issues among the mass.The research team of Youth for Social Development (YSD) has analysed and presented the Odisha state budget 2018-19 by identifying critical areas of concern i.e. social sectors (health, education, water and sanitation) and vulnerable groups like children and women. The discussion attended by members from civil society, activist groups and academia was an effort to bring together different stakeholders of the society in public policy discourses.  The discussion was also addressed by Shri. Panchanan Kanungo, Former Finance Minister and Public Finance Expert; Dr. Bhagabata Patro, Adjunct Professor, NLUM, Mumbai, Public Finance Expert; Dr. Pravas Ranjam Mishar , Programme Officer, Oxfam, India, Public Finance Expert; Prof. S. N. Behera, Visiting Professor, Ravenshaw University, Cuttack;  Prof. Devi Prasanna Patnaik, Chairman PG Council and HoD, Economics, Berhmapur University; Prof. Sudhakar Patra, Coordinator, Dept. of Economics, Berhmapur University. Dr. Sandhyarni Das, Reader in Economics, Berhampur University anchored the discussion and Sri. Bibhu Prasad Sahu , Member Secretary, Youth for Social Development, Odisha  and Sri. Ratneswar Sahu, Programme Manager, Youth for Social Development, Odisha presented the budget analysis. The discussion started with the presentation by Sri. Bibhu Prasad Sahu of YSD, who emphasized on the critical significance of a social watch over the formulation and implementation of budgets. He mentioned that the views expressed by the group will be presented to the Finance Minister through a memorandum by the students.Analyses of budget 2018-19 with special focus on education, health, water & sanitation and on marginalized groups like children and women were presented by the research team of YSD. The key points highlighted are:• The proposed budget indicates a growth in the share of government in the overall economy. BE as % of GSDP has grown from around 25 % to 27%. After deflating for the growth in GSDP (approx 6.6 %), there actually is only around a 5 percent increase in the allocations from the previous year.• In education, there is a decline in the allocations as % of total budget in School and Mass Education (from 12.28 in 2017-18 RE to 12.1 in 2018-19 BE). Even when the government is clamoring for the make in Odisha and imparting of skill to the masses, there actually is a decline in the allocations of skill development and technical education. In higher education too, the government does not seem to care for the enhancement of scope of universities newly constructed and other requirements. Allocations are not just sufficient for the purpose. For example, only 41 lakhs for the newly constructed GM University. For Berhampur University allocated 61.65 Cr. in FY2018-19 but the Khallikote University has allocated Rs.3 Cr. only in the FY 2018-19. New programme ‘Mo School Abhiyan’ that encourages communities to develop school infrastructure has been launched under this government earmarked Rs. 50 Cr. in the FY 2018-19 to provide 200% matching grant at the initial stage.  • The 71stround of NSSO reveals that in Odisha, around 81 percent in rural and 58 percent in urban areas still depend on public health care facilities. In terms of allocations, although, there is an increase in the allocations in absolute terms as % of total budget, it has gone down from 5.44 % in 2016-17(Actual) to 5.08 in 2018-19 (BE). • In other crucial sectors too the allocations are not very promising given the significance of the year as the last fiscal before the next general and assembly elections. • Khusi’ a new scheme for menstrual hygiene among the adolescent girls and women launched to provide Sanitary Napkins free of cost to girl students from Class-VI to XII, with a budget allocation of Rs. 50 Cr. in the FY 2018-19 • New scheme for universal eye care under the Mukhyamantri Chakshyu Jatna Karyakrama ‘SUNETRA’ (with an outlay of Rs.682 Cr. over a period of five years) has announce with an initial allocation of Rs. 87 Cr. in FY 2018-19 • To upgrade standards of ancillary services including sanitation, hygiene and security an allocation of Rs. 70 Cr. in FY 2018-19 has been made under the NIRMAL scheme. • For supply of free medicines under the ‘Niramaya’ scheme the allocation has been increased to Rs. 304 Cr. in FY 2018-19 from Rs. 253 Cr. in FY 2017-18. • Under the Mukhya Mantri Swasthya Seva Mission to build health Infrastructure and services an allocation of Rs. 700 Cr. in FY 2018-19 has been provided which is less than in FY 2017-18 Rs.760 Cr.• For the National Helath Mission Rs. 1370 Cr. in FY 2018-19 has been allocated which is an increase of Rs. 173 Cr. from the allocation of Rs.1024.5 CR (RE) in FY 2017-18.     • An allocation of Rs.4057.61 Cr. for both rural and urban water supply and sanitation in FY 2018-19 , Under BASUDHA for water supply to rural and urban areas Rs. 1350 Cr. in FY 2018-19, For Swachh Bharat Mission Rs. 1200 Cr.  (rural and urban) in FY 2018-19, For National Rural Drinking Water Supply Programme Rs. 300 crore and For Urban Sewerage Scheme Rs. 79 Core.• For children Allocation of budget for the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) has increased to Rs.2035 Cr. In FY 2018-19 (Rs. 1949 Cr. In FY 2017-18), For distribution of uniforms (MalatiDevi Prak Vidyalaya Paridhan Yojana) for pre school education children Rs. 40 Cr. In FY 2018-19 allocated (Rs.34 Cr. In 2017-18 FY), Budget for Supplementary Nutrition Programme Rs.972 Cr. In FY 2018-19 (Rs.822 Cr. FY 2017-18), Allocation to State Council for Child Welfare is 61.70, State Commission for Protection of Child Rights is 86 lakhs, Juvenile Justice Fund is 1 lakh, Biju Sishu Surakshya Yojana is 1.65 Cr and for Implementation of Child labour Act is 1.50 Cr.• Allocation to W&CD department has been increased from 2804 Cr. in 2017-18 FY to 3344 Cr. in 2018-19 FY, Block Level Federation of Women Self Help Groups Rs. 500 Cr. in 2018-19 FY, Mukhya Mantri Mahila Sashakti Karan Yojana Rs. 550 Cr. in 2018-19 FY (90 Cr. In 2017-18), For women empowerment programme budget increased 10 time from Rs. 114.4 Cr in 2016-17 to 1061 Cr. in 2018-19 • Allocation for major programs Rehabilitation of Distressed Women Rs. 0.031 cr, Prevention of Violence Against Women 1.15 cr, State commission for Women 3.10 Cr, Biju Kanya Ratna Jojana, 0.50 Cr, Mahila Shakti Kendra 0.92 Cr.
The budget did not have any critical focus on agriculture. The current budget ignored the food processing sector although the provision of group credit for tenant farmers is an appreciable step”, said Shri Panchanan Kanungo. He added that the budget also throws an opportunity for wage employment, it has ignored skill development. He also expressed his concern over the debt dependency of this budget by an amount of around Rs 20000 crores.
Experts opined for a participatory budgeting before its preparations, importance to macro economics, quality implementation of budget, balanced allocations to various regions starving poverty and regional imbalance and finance commission grants should be fairly allocated.