Economic Affairs and Planning Minister of State-1 Indra Angbo (Mausam) presented the government’s fiscal budget for 2020/21 today at the State Assembly. The budget with the total amount of Rs. 40,890,000,099 includes 46.29 % of current expenditure and 53.71 % of capital expenditure. The budget has projected an economic growth rate of 3.41 per cent in the upcoming fiscal.
This is the third budget of the historic state-1 government of Nepal. Following are the major takeaways of the budget for the upcoming fiscal year.
- Special package for COVID-19 hospital
State budget has prioritized infrastructure development of the Biratnagar-based 50-bed COVID-19 Hospital built by state government on April 3. The budget has allocated Rs. 500 million for transforming it into a specialist hospital for infectious disease and research.
- Provincial and district hospital-focused budget
The budget has allocated Rs. 230 million for Provincial Mechi Hospital of Jhapa with facilities of CT-scan, hemodialysis, ventilators, among others. Additional Rs. 1.1 billion is allocated for hospital improvements and service expansion. This section includes development of laboratory improvements, ventilator facility, Intensive Care Unit, oxygen plant to 50-bed district hospital. Likewise, this budget includes transforming 25-bed hospitals into smart hospitals.
- Special package for provincial public health laboratory
Rs. 64.6 million has been allocated for improvement of the facilities and procurement of the latest technical equipment like Polymerase Chain Reaction machine and construction of advanced building.
The budget says the construction of the building would be accomplished within upcoming fiscal year with the assistance of donor agencies.
- Special budget for university and research purpose
Rs. 135 million is funneled for the structural and functional improvements of the Manmohan Technical University of the state. Additional Rs. 50 million is allocated for the research and study about higher education and public colleges. Rs. 10 million is allocated for industrial academy in the Madan Bhandari Memorial Academy targeting primary and medium level technical work force. Rs. 150 million is channeled for multi-technical school at Taplejung, Panchthar, Terhathum, Shankhuwasabha and Solukhumbu. The budget has also constituted the ‘state innovation fund’.
- Special budget for online, distant and differently-abled education
State budget has focused on studies stalled owing to COVID-19 pandemic through online, television and radio classes in the state. For this, Rs. 300 million has been allocated. Another Rs. 11 million is allocated for special scholarship for students from Dalit and marginalized communities while Rs. 22 million is set aside for studies for various disabilities.
- Budget for tea manufacturing plant
Rs. 165 million is allocated for the entire package of tea sector development in the state. This package includes establishments of tea testing and manufacturing center at Fikkal of Suryodaya Municipality of Ilam. This plant is meant to brand Nepal’s typical tea in the global market.
- Budget for ‘organic state’
The fiscal budget has targeted an ambitious goal of creating organic state. For this, budget has allocated Rs. 98.4 million. The budget will support the organic farming activities in the state.
- Multi-year roads and Chief Minister rural roads
Rs. 5,212,300,000 is allocated for 62 multi-year roads and Chief Minister rural roads of the state. Rs. 600 million is allocated for Biratchowk-Ghinaghat four-lane roads as a special roadways project of the state government.
- Priority for hydropower and green energy
The budget has said the government would study 200-megawatt hydropower projects in collaboration with federal government. Another 20-megawatt hydropower and wind power would be developed.
- Tourism infrastructures for history and trails
State government has allocated Rs. 1191 million for tourism development. This includes infrastructural developments for various religious and cultural shrines like Halesi, Pathibhara, Barahkshetra, Temke, Silauti, Mangsebung, Labrekuti. Likewise, historical and archeological places like Bijayapur, Birat Durbar, Hilihang Durbar, Kichakbadh, Chaudahndi, Hatuwagadhi are developed under this tourism budget. Development of various trekking trails would be started from Mundhum trail of Bhojpur.
- One district, one product and self-reliant economy
On economic and industrial front, the budget has allocated Rs. 205 million for ‘self-reliant economy’ and ‘one district, one product’ scheme. One district, one product scheme would accommodate all migrant workers returning home owing to COVID-19 pandemic.
- First floodlights-fitted stadium
For the first time in the state, the budget has allocated funds for installation of permanent floodlights for nighttime sporting activities at Shahid Stadium of Biratnagar. For this and other sporting activities, the budget has allocated Rs. 300 million. The budget has also said to establish State Sports Board.
- Secured border, secured lived program
The state government has envisioned the slogan ‘secured border, secured lives’. This will enhance the Border Outpost (BOP) at the international border points with both India and China. However, no specific budget is allocated on this title.
- Digital state
The budget has allocated Rs. 50 million for works related to establishment of the ‘digital state.’
- Mission child marriage free state
The budget has provisioned five-year plan to completely eradicate child marriage from the state. It is said to make state-1 the child marriage free state by 2025. However, no specific amount of budget is mentioned on this issue.
Source: National News Agency Nepal