Odisha CM expresses concern on reduction of MGNREGS, food security in Union Budget

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday expressed concern over reduction of funds for MGNREGS and food security scheme in the Union Budget for 2023-24.

Patnaik said the budget has some good aspects which needs to be appreciated and there are some concerns which need to be looked into, and addressed.

“I have concerns regarding the drastic reduction of funds for MGNREGS. This will hit the poor people. The reduction in food security budget along with reduction in procurement will hit the poor people as well as farmers,” he said.

About Rs 80,000 crores was spent on procurement in 2021-22 while only about Rs 60,000 crores is kept in this budget. This will cause serious problems in selling crops at Minimum Support Price (MSP), he said.

While in 2021-22 an amount of Rs 2 lakh crores was spent under the National Food Security Act (NFSA), in this budget only Rs 1.37 lakh crore is kept for this purpose, pointed out the CM.

Patnaik also said that there has been a decrease or no growth in health and education sectors.

He further said that the budget provision for Ayushman Bharat scheme is Rs 7,200 crore for the entire country while Odisha spends almost about Rs 2,400 crore on Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana (BSKY) in private facilities alone.

“If we include government facilities, it would be around Rs 6,000 crores annually under the BSKY. Health is an important priority for our state and we believe in investing and in sincere efforts,” he said.

Slamming the Odisha BJP leaders, who are pressing hard for implementation of the Ayushman Bharat scheme in Odisha, Patnaik said he now hopes that the BJP state leadership will stop hoodwinking the people of Odisha.

Speaking about the good steps taken by the Centre in the Budget, he said the increased capital investment, support to drinking water initiatives, and increasing rural housing will accelerate growth as well as have social impact in rural areas.

He also welcomed the Prime Minister’s thrust on millets. Stating that Odisha Millet Mission is a pioneering initiative in the country, Patnaik said he feels happy that millets have been given importance in the budget.

“The focus on new world technologies like artificial intelligence, internet of things etc. is appreciable. These are some of the good aspects of the budget. The focus on primitive tribal groups is a welcome step,” he added.

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