Raipur, Feb 23 (IANS) Presenting a Rs.44,169 crore budget for fiscal 2013-14 Saturday ahead of polls later this year, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh said he attempted to reach out to all sections of the society.
Raman Singh, who also holds the finance portfolio, stressed on inclusive growth and emphasised his government's commitment to the development of farmers, women and children, youth and marginalized sections like the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, unorganized labour and the poor.
He announced reduction VAT on mobile handsets costing up to Rs.3,000, induction cookers, LED bulbs and lights, computer spare parts, and flavoured milk from 14 percent to 5 percent.
"Implementation of Food Security Act is the main attraction of this budget. It aims at guaranteeing food entitlement to 42 lakh poor families," Singh told newsmen after presenting the budget amid interruptions by opposition Congress members.
He said that poor families will be provided rice at a highly subsidized rate of Re.1 and Rs.2 per kg. and pulses (gram) at Rs.5 per kg. which would cost the state exchequer a whopping Rs. 2,000 crore annually.
For the second time, a separate agriculture budget was also presented with focus on farmers' well-being and increasing productivity.
The outlay of Rs.8,542 crore for the agriculture and allied sector amounts to 19 percent of the total budget and 37 percent over last year's amount.
The outlay includes Rs.1,656 crore for agriculture, Rs.340 crore for veterinary services, Rs.2,010 crore for irrigation, Rs.386 crore for subsidy towards agricultural pumps and Rs. 3,102 crore for paddy procurement.
In a bid to blunt a key issue of Congress linked to farmers, Singh announced a bonus of Rs.270 per quintal for paddy procured during Kharif 2012. With more than 70 lakh MT of paddy procured during the season, approximately Rs.1,900 crore would be disbursed among the farmers.
Assembly elections are due in Chhattisgarh Nov-Dec.