The Uttarakhand government announced interest-free loans of up to Rs 1 lakh to poor and small farmers in the Rs 48,663-crore budget for 2019-20 presented in the Assembly on Monday. Interest-free loan up to Rs 5 lakh to self-help groups engaged in agro-related activities was also announced in the budget which focuses on agriculture and allied sectors, and rural employment.
Tabling the state's budget, Finance Minister Prakash Pant said it was a balanced budget which took care of education, health, agriculture, employment generation in rural areas, infrastructure, housing and urban development. The total expenditure for the Financial Year 2019-20 is estimated to be Rs 48,663.90 crore while total receipts for the period are pegged at Rs 48,679.43 crore which means it is a surplus budget, he said.
The budget size is around 7 per cent more than the one passed last year, Pant told reporters at a press conference after tabling the budget in the House. "Though it is a balanced budget which takes care of all sections including farmers, women, the unemployed youth, rural economy and development of rural and urban infrastructure our focus has been agriculture and the allied sectors, in this budget," Pant told reporters.
An interest waiver will be provided under zero interest rate for loans up to Rs 1 lakh for poor and marginalized farmers besides providing loan up to Rs 5 lakh at zero interest rate to self-help groups engaged in agro-related activities to promote agriculture, he said. A provision of Rs 1,341 crore has been made for agriculture and horticulture in the budget while a provision of Rs 3,141.34 crore had been made for rural development and Panchayati Raj department, he said.
To check migration through employment generation in rural areas and to double the income of farmers by 2022 an allocation of Rs 100 crore has been made through the cooperative sector in the budget. A provision of Rs 2,545.40 crore has been made for medical health, family welfare and Medical education while an allocation of Rs 1,073 crore has been made for the education sector, Pant said.
(With inputs from agencies.)