Patna, February 13: The Nitish Kumar government in Bihar on Tuesday tabled a Rs 2.79 lakh crore budget, asserting that the state's finances were in "good shape" with the growth rate standing well at 10.64 per cent, the "highest" in the country. Presenting the budget before the state assembly, Deputy Chief Minister Samrat Choudhary said it was a matter of pride for Bihar that its growth rate at "10.64 per cent" was also much higher than the national average.

He said that according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) analysis, the global economic growth rate in 2022-23 was 3.1 per cent and the country's economic growth rate was 7.24 per cent”. “Bihar has attained the highest gross state domestic product (GSDP) rate of 10.64 per cent, followed by Assam (10.2 per cent) and Delhi (9.2 per cent) in 2022-23,” said Choudhary who holds the finance portfolio. Rajya Sabha Elections 2024: Bihar CM Nitish Kumar’s Close Aide Sanjay Jha To Be JD’s RS Candidate

"We are committed to the state's overall development. We succeeded in pulling out 2.5 crore people from the clutches of poverty in the current financial year," Choudhary said. The government has decided to allocate a consolidated fund of Rs 52,639.03 crore budget to implement several schemes in the education sector in the coming financial year.

“Besides, the government will spend Rs 15, 235 crore for construction and maintenance of roads, Rs 14,932 crore for the health sector, Rs 14,296 crore for rural development, Rs 12,377 crore for several welfare schemes, Rs 11,298 crore for urban development and Rs 11,025 crore for strengthening of the panchayati raj institutions in the state in 2024-25,” said Choudhary. Emphasis has been laid on social development along with education and health, he added.

He presented the budget amid a ruckus created by members of the opposition, who trooped into the well and later staged a walkout, shouting slogans like "palturam hosh mein aao (Mr turncoat, come back to your senses)". The budget was presented a day after Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who dumped the RJD-helmed 'Mahagathbandhan' and returned to the BJP-led NDA, won a trust vote. Bihar CM Nitish Kumar's Government Wins Floor Test With Support of 129 MLAs, Opposition Walks Out (Watch Video)

Choudhary also counted among the state's major achievements a marked decline in maternity deaths, saying it has fallen by 47 per cent, which is remarkable by all standards. The state's budget estimate for the next fiscal was Rs 2,78,725.72 crore, an increase of Rs 16,840 crore, compared with the current financial year. Out of the total expenditure, Rs one lakh crore was earmarked for annual scheme outlay with the largest share (22.20 per cent) reserved for the education department, followed by rural development (13.84 per cent).

The estimated expenditure on health has been pegged at 7.41 per cent of the annual scheme outlay, while 1.88 per cent will be kept for backward classes and most backward classes welfare. Although the budget document asserted that the state's finances were in good shape, it admitted that the fiscal deficit, at 5.97 per cent of the GSDP, was way above the prescribed conditional limit of 3.5 per cent.

However, in the next financial year, the state is again likely to generate a revenue surplus and fiscal deficit is likely to be contained at 2.98 per cent of state GDP, which is within the FRBM limits of three per cent. The Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) Act, 2003, sets a target for the government to establish financial discipline in the economy. The finance minister, however, refused to comment on the possibility of a reduction in grants in aid from the Central government to the state.

As per the budget document, the grants in aid from the Central government to the state are estimated at Rs 52,160.62 crore in 2024-25 which is Rs 1,217.30 crore less than Rs 53,377.92 crore for the year 2023-24 budget estimate. The outstanding public debt is estimated at Rs 2,97,908.99 crore in 2024-25 which is 30.51 of GSDP of Rs 9,76,514 crore. “Total debt including liability in the public account estimate is Rs 3,48,370.45 crore in 2024-25 which is 35.67 per cent of GSDP of Rs 9,76,514 crore,” says the budget document.