Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday expressed concern over the drastic reduction of funds under MGNREGA and food security allocations in the Union Budget, besides welcoming some of the “good aspects” of it.
“The budget has some good aspects which need to be appreciated and there are some concerns which required to be looked into and addressed,” he said in a statement. Noting that he was concerned over the drastic reduction of funds for MGNREGS, Patnaik said: “This will hit the poor people.”
The Odisha chief minister also said that the reduction in the food security budget along with a reduction in procurement will hit the poor people as well as farmers. “About Rs 80,000 crore was spent on procurement in 2021-22 while only about Rs 60,000 crore is kept in this budget. This will cause serious problems in selling crops at Minimum Support Price,” Patnaik pointed out. He said that in 2021-22, an amount of Rs 2 lakh crore was spent under National Food Security, while in this budget only Rs 1.37 lakh crore is kept for this purpose.
Patnaik, also president of the ruling BJD, said there has been a decrease or no growth in the health and education sectors. Ridiculing the Odisha BJP which always harps on the state government over its denial to accept the central health assurance scheme, Patnaik pointed out that the budget provision for Ayushman Bharat ‘PMJAY’ is only Rs 7,200 crore for the entire country while Odisha alone spends almost about Rs 2,400 crore on Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana in private facilities alone.
“If we include Government facilities, the amount would be around Rs 6,000 crore annually under Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana,” the chief minister said. Patnaik said: "Now I hope that the Odisha BJP leaders would stop misleading the people over non-implementation of the Ayushman Bharat Yojana in the state."
While appreciating some aspects of the budget, Patnaik listed good steps like increased capital investment, support for drinking water initiatives and increasing rural housing. “These will accelerate growth as well as have social impact in rural areas,” he said.
“I also welcome the Prime Minister’s thrust on millets. ‘Odisha Millet Mission’ is a pioneering initiative in the country and I am happy that millets have been given importance in the Budget,” he said.