Conrad presents Rs 1,849-cr deficit budget for 2022-23

This is state’s first gender, youth and SDGs budget: CM

SHILLONG, March 9: Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma on Wednesday presented the budget for 2022-23 with a fiscal deficit of Rs 1,849-crore.
The chief minister, who also holds the Finance portfolio, estimated the total receipt at Rs 18,700 crore, of which the revenue receipts are estimated at Rs 16,035 crore and capital receipts at Rs 2,665 crore. Excluding borrowings of Rs 2,632 crore, the total receipts are estimated at Rs 16,068 crore.
He estimated the total expenditure at Rs 18,881 crore, of which the revenue expenditure is estimated at Rs 15,376 crore and capital expenditure at Rs 3,505 crore. Excluding payment of loans of Rs 964 crore, the total expenditure is Rs 17,917 crore.
Interest payments for 2022-23 are estimated at Rs 1,110 crore and pension payments at Rs 1,469 crore.
“I am therefore presenting the budget of 2022-23 with a fiscal deficit of Rs 1,849 crore which is around 4.5% of the GSDP,” he said.
The chief minister asserted that the government is determined to propel Meghalaya into the league of top 10 states in India by the end of the decade.
He said a solid foundation for this has been laid over the last four years and this budget creates the pathways for achieving this ambitious mission.
Sangma said the government has made some fundamental changes in the budgeting system by continuing its emphasis on governance reforms. The plan and non-plan dichotomy in the formulation of the budget estimates has been done away with.
“This is in line with the Government of India’s budgetary practices and enables efficient budgeting. Further, for the first time in the history of the state, I am presenting a gender budget, a youth budget and a Sustainable Development Goals budget,” he said.
He said that despite the disruption of the last two years caused by the COVID pandemic, the state has achieved significant progress on all fronts with support from the Centre and all local stakeholders.
“I am glad to say that the COVID vaccination status in the state has reached 71% and all economic and social activity is slowly returning to normalcy,” he said.
The chief minister said the government is constructing 26 major roads at a cost of about Rs 2,500 crore and every effort is being made to connect all the rural habitations.
“On average, in the current financial year, we have built about 2 km of rural roads every day. We have increased the number of households with piped water supply from 5,000 to over 2.1 lakh in a span of just two years,” he said.
On livelihood opportunities, he said the government has created and launched cash benefit programmes under which Rs 5,000 is being transferred to all the agricultural households and the mission mode projects in the agriculture and livestock sectors are directly benefiting about 50,000 farmers.
On women empowerment, he said the government has undertaken initiatives that include the expansion of the self-help group programme to cover over 3 lakh households and the state now is among the top three states in terms of immunisation coverage for children.
Sangma said the law-and-order situation has been largely peaceful during the current financial year and pointed out that the HNLC has indicated its willingness for unconditional talks and the government has written to the Ministry of Home Affairs to take the process forward.
He also said the government is committed to resolving the long pending inter-state boundary issues with Assam.
“I have had several rounds of discussion in the last six months with the chief minister of Assam. We have already signed an MoU to resolve six out of the 12 areas of difference. We expect to finalise the agreement soon,” he added.

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