₹1003 Crore to be Spent on Biju Health Scheme

With focus on infrastructure and rural development, Finance Minister Shashi Bhusan Behera on Wednesday presented Supplementary Budget of 12,790 crore in the Assembly amid Opposition pandemonium over fuel price rise and teachers’ agitation. The supplementary statement is in addition to the annual Budget of ₹1.20 lakh crore for the current financial year. While the supplementary statement said an additional provision of ₹301 crore has been made for healthcare programs, the Government clarified that an amount of ₹1003.52 crore will be spent on Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana (BSKY), the much-vaunted universal health coverage scheme, with special emphasis on health protection of economically vulnerable families. “Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana is fully funded by the State Government from its own resources. There is no Central Government support to the BSKY,” the Government said in a statement following confusion over funding pattern of the scheme.

The confusion arose following the briefing on the Supplementary Budget by Additional Chief Secretary, Finance T K Pandey where he said the Central share of the National Health Mission, which comes to about ₹785 crore, will be part of this public health program. As the State Government has announced its own food security scheme for 34.44 lakh people who have been left out under National Food Security Act (NFSA), it has made a provision of ₹81 crore as against a requirement of ₹200 crore for providing subsidized rice at ₹1 a kg to each beneficiary. The Government has decided to start distribution of rice for about 25 lakh new beneficiaries from October 2 (Gandhi Jayanti) this year. Of the total program expenditure of ₹9611 crore, Panchayati Raj and Drinking Water Department received the highest allocation of ₹3141.74 crore followed by Rural Development Department with ₹2269.55 crore. The Disaster Management Department has received an additional provision of ₹1364 crore.

“Keeping in view the needs and expectations of the people in a welfare state, the Supplementary Budget is aimed at fulfilling the requirement of funds for public welfare and developmental activities in the State, mainly through reallocation of available resources and receipt of tied-up resources from various sources,” Behera stated. Responding to a query on the debt position, he said overall debt stock of the State was ₹76,428 crore which is likely to increase to ₹92,000 crore by the end of the current fiscal. Behera said the State Government has already raised ₹4000 crore loan from the open market for capital expenditure. The Supplementary Budget will be financed by tied up resources to the tune of ₹5166 crore, untied funds to the extent of ₹1000 crore, ₹1082 crore surrendered funds and ₹5542 crore from overall savings. – New Indian Express

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