Meghalaya is to be a 10 Billion $ Economy by 2027-28 and Special Emphasis on Climate Action for the First time

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  • CM Conrad Sangma presents a ‘People’s Budget’ with a robust projection of Meghalaya becoming a 10 Billion$ Economy by 2027-28
  • Meghalaya also to be amongst the top 10 states of the country by 2032, when Diamond Jubilee of the Statehood would be celebrated
  • Special emphasis on Climate Action for the first time in the budget in order to address the centrality of the climate agenda
  • Connect every household with uninterrupted electricity and functional tap water, every village with motorable roads and internet connectivity
  • Govt. will pursue with the inclusion of Khasi and Garo languages in the 8th schedule of the Constitution of India

SHILLONG:  Between 2018 to 2023, despite losing almost two years to the COVID pandemic, the government expenditure more than doubled from ₹ 9,528 crore during 2017-18 to ₹ 20,729 crore in 2022-23. This signifies improved governance and implementation capability.

Keeping in sync with this momentum, a ‘People’s Budget’ has been presented with Meghalaya pegged to become a 10 Billion$ Economy by 2027-28 and to be amongst the top 10 states of the country by 2032, when Diamond Jubilee of the Statehood would be celebrated. This Budget would be a culmination of a greater and vibrant economy that would catapult the State to the league where it aims to reach.

Key highlights and takeaways of this Budget

The Budget puts emphasis on a people-centric all-round development and hinges upon- Meghalaya becoming a 10 Billion$ Economy by 2027-28 and be amongst the top 10 states of the country by 2032.

State Finances

  • The GSDP of Meghalaya is estimated at ₹ 41,779 crore for the current financial year. For the next financial year, GSDP is expected to increase to ₹ 46,600 crore, an expected growth rate of 11.5%
  • Projected capital outlay for 2023-24 is an increase of 14% over the year 2022-23 and 38.5% over the year 2021-22. This substantial increase in capital expenditure will be the foundation for the projected increase in economic growth.

Primary Sector and Farmers’ Prosperity

  • Investing in the well-being of farmers is a core priority. The government will continue to implement numerous mission-mode interventions to increase the production of niche agricultural and horticulture crops.
  • An allocation of ₹ 50 crore has been made for the continued implementation of mission mode projects in agri and horti sectors, ₹ 11.3 crore for investment in fruit development with particular emphasis on improving the value chains, ₹5.6 crore for vegetable development.
  • The upper limit for interest-free working capital provided to Cooperatives upgraded from ₹ 50 lahks to ₹ 1 crore.
  • ₹ 40 crores will be spent on PROGRESS – Prosperity of Grassroot Families through Livestock Interventions, ₹ 44.7 crores for the fisheries sector, and ₹ 25 crores for the ambitious program ‘Meghalaya State Organic and Natural Farming Policy 2023’, will make Meghalaya the national leader in organic cultivation.

Infrastructure

  • The vision of making Meghalaya a 10 Billion$ economy depends on sizeable capital investments. Investments made in infrastructure have a significant effect on economic growth.
  • To address the last mile connectivity issues in rural areas, the ‘Chief Minister’s Rural Connectivity Scheme’ is introduced. Through this scheme, villages would be connected to those that are not covered under PMGSY.
  • An ‘Integrated Transport Network Development Plan’ and ‘Road Asset Management System’ in collaboration with the World Bank is being developed.
  • ₹ 15.5 crores allocated towards improving air connectivity in the State.

Water supply

Given the excellent performance of the State in the implementation of the Jal Jeevan Mission, the Union Government has assured an amount of ₹ 3,700 crores for 2023-24. An ambitious plan has been drawn to provide tap connections to all 6.3 lakh households.

Information Technology and Digital Infrastructure

  • One of the core visions of the government is to provide internet connectivity to all the villages and improve the bandwidth across the State. About 1,000 uncovered villages are being targeted to be covered under the ‘4G USOF Project’ and the ‘4G Saturation Project.’
  • ₹ 191 crores allocated towards various initiatives in the IT sector.

Infrastructure for Sports

Investment in Sports infrastructure has been unprecedented in the last five years. Similar investments in the next five years are planned with the goal of developing Meghalaya as a national sports hub.

Infrastructure for Governance

  • Construction of the New Assembly building in New Shillong will be completed this year. Allocation ₹ 35 crores was made towards the completion of this prestigious project.
  • Focus is also on the construction and upgradation of Integrated Administrative Complexes, Block infrastructure, and police infrastructure including police stations, housing, and outposts. ₹ 37 crores was allocated towards the modernization of police infrastructure.

Infrastructure for Tourism

The tourism sector is a key churner for the State. The Tourism Policy 2023 has been approved. Public investments of around ₹ 2,000 Cr have been committed in the Tourism Sector for the next five-year period.

Urban Infrastructure

The population of the Shillong urban cluster has grown substantially over the last two decades leading to several urban development challenges. New Shillong City will be built as a futuristic and sustainable city. It will be a hub for knowledge, creative, cultural, and sports industries. An investment plan of about ₹ 5,000 crores was chalked out on this ambitious project over the next five years.

Border infrastructure

Ten Land Custom Stations, Five Border Haats, and one Integrated Check Post at Dawki – Tamabil is under construction. Proposals for the creation of sixteen new border haats, upgradation of four Land Custom Stations into full-fledged Integrated Check Posts, and establishment of one Land Custom Station

have been submitted to the Government of India.

Digital Governance

The current year saw the processing of all scheme proposals and the release of funds being made paperless through the deployment of the e-proposal system and the Budget Estimation Allocation Monitoring System. In 2023-24, these systems will be taken to the district and DDO levels. Amount of ₹ 11 crores was earmarked for this initiative.

Youth, Employment, and Entrepreneurship

  • 74% of Meghalaya is under the age of 35 years. The State’s future depends on investments in the youth.
  • Dedicated skills parks will be constructed at Shillong and Tura with investments of ₹ 50 crore each.
  • For Soft Skills Program – ASPIRE Meghalaya, ₹ 20 crores has been allocated. Youth Development Scheme and YESS Meghalaya will be expanded and ₹ 25 crores earmarked for these projects.
  • To support entrepreneurs further, the upper limit of the Startup grant increased from ₹ 5 lahks to ₹ 7.5 lahks per entrepreneur. The size of the zero-interest scale-up loans increased from ₹ 25 lakh to ₹ 50 lahks.
  • Youth Budget is being increased to ₹ 2,215 crore in 2023-24 from ₹ 1,789 crores in 2022-23 thus giving an increase of 24%.

Education

  • The government is committed to improving the education scenario by investing in physical infrastructure as well as human resources.
  • New infrastructure is being constructed at 208 schools at a cost of ₹ 109 crores. Major upgradation of infrastructure is being taken up at 111 schools at a cost of ₹ 97 crores. Minor repairs are being taken up at about 1,750 schools with an estimated cost of ₹ 62 crores.
  • Streamline the process of scholarship disbursement for 2023-24 is being done. ₹ 180 crores was allocated to support the students.
  • ₹ 2,015 crores is earmarked for payment of salaries to teachers.

Economic empowerment of women

More than 200 ‘Cluster Level Federations’ of SHG women will be formalized as credit cooperative societies to provide banking services in the remote areas of the State. ₹ 248 crores was allocated for the SHG program.

Health Systems

  • Coverage of the Meghalaya Health Insurance Scheme has increased from 2 lakh households to about 4.7 lakh households over the last five years. Government plans to extend the coverage to all 8.4 lakh households over the next two years.
  • The overall investments in the health sector for 2023-24 is pegged at ₹ 1,805 crore, which is an increase of ₹ 109 crores over the revised estimates for 2022-23.

Environmental Conservation and Climate Action

  • Focusing on sustainability and building climate resilience are important components of the State’s growth strategy in order to address the centrality of the climate agenda.
  • The state is implementing the country’s largest ‘Payment for Ecosystem Services’ project called ‘Green Meghalaya.’ Under this program, communities are being incentivized to conserve forests.
  • About 50,000 hectares of forests will be protected under this program and ₹ 250 crores will be transferred to the communities over the next five years.
  • A Climate Action Budget for the first time this year has been presented. The overall allocation towards climate action for 2023-24 is ₹ 3,412 crore, which corresponds to about 15 % of the State’s budget.

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