This Article is From Mar 10, 2022

Chhattisgarh Revives Old Pension Scheme, Madhya Pradesh Hikes Dearness Allowance

Former Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh however called the budget "directionless and disappointing."

Chhattisgarh Revives Old Pension Scheme, Madhya Pradesh Hikes Dearness Allowance

Bhupesh Baghel carried the state budget in a briefcase made out of by-products of cow dung


Days after Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel on Wednesday announced the revival of the old pension scheme during his budget speech. The revival of the old pension scheme will benefit about 2.95 lakh state government employees.

Mr Baghel, who carried the state budget in a briefcase made out of by-products of cow dung, presented a Rs 1,12,603 crore budget, with a fiscal deficit of Rs 14,600 crore but surplus revenue of Rs 701 crore.

The Chhattisgarh Chief Minister also raised payouts under the Rajiv Gandhi Bhoomiheen Krishi Mazdoor Nyay Yojana from Rs 6,000 to Rs 7,000 per month as requested by Congress's Rahul Gandhi during the launch of the scheme.

Offering a relief to the unemployed youth of Chhattisgarh, the government said no fee will be charged from candidates in the competitive examinations conducted by the Chhattisgarh Professional Board and the State Public Service Commission. The MLAs' discretionary funds were also raised to Rs 4 crore from Rs 2 crore per year. The budget kept tax rates unchanged.

Former Chief Minister Raman Singh however called the budget "directionless and disappointing." 

"It has neither vision nor farsightedness. The state government has presented a Hawa Hawai budget," he said.

In contrast, in neighbouring Madhya Pradesh, state Finance Minister Jagdish Deora categorically denied there's any proposal to implement the old pension scheme when asked by reporters.

Leader of Opposition, Kamal Nath, had written a letter to Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, urging him to revive the old pension scheme for government employees in the state, like Rajasthan.

The Dearness Allowance, however, was hiked for government employees from 11 per cent to 31 per cent in Madhya Pradesh. 

State Finance Minister Jagdish Devda presented the Rs 2,79,237 crore budget amid continuous opposition uproar. The fiscal deficit in the state stands at Rs 55,111 crore. No new tax was imposed and existing tax rates were also not hiked in the budget. 

Mr Devda announced that Mukhya Mantri Teerth Darshan Yojana (Free Pilgrimage Scheme) will be re-operationalised. The state government's flagship Ladli Laxmi Yojana will also be expanded to comprehensively cover higher education for girls. The government also presented a child budget for the first time, announcing Rs 27,792 crore will be spent on welfare of children under 12. A provision of Rs 370 crore was also made for the statue of Adi Shankaracharya.

Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan claimed that the state had managed to achieve a growth rate of 19.7 per cent, which is highest in the country.

He also criticised the Congress for the uproar and said, "What the Congress has done today is its intellectual bankruptcy. People, farmers, poor, traders, everyone is interested, they wanted to listen to the budget. This has never happened in the parliamentary history of Madhya Pradesh. It shows the frustration of the Congress."

The Opposition Congress had earlier staged a protest in the Well of the assembly for nearly 90 minutes - the length of the budget speech - by raising slogans on unemployment, SC/ST, OBC scholarship, atrocities and cow protection. 

Kamal Nath said that the budget is deceiving the public. "Every year, the government has to give an account of what has been done in the field of employment, agriculture and the rest. But this time, the Budget is full of lies and deception. How much unemployment has reduced in state? This budget is deceiving the public. The gist of the budget is expensive milk and edible oil and cheap liquor."