Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh Saturday presented Rs.54,710 crore tax-free budget for 2014-15 in the state assembly.
Raman Singh who is ruling the state since December 2003 and also holds the finance portfolio, unveiled a series of tax reliefs for industries and cottage sector to revive them from recession.
In a major decision for the farm community, which makes up roughly 80 percent of the state's total population, the chief minister made a budgetary provision of Rs.140 crore for "interest free short-term crop loans".
The key trade bodies and the business personalities in the state have hailed the budget as "balanced and growth-oriented" with the opposition Congress terming it "disappointing, directionless, anti-farmer and anti-poor".
Highlighting the priorities of his government, Raman Singh said he was committed to eradicating poverty, hunger and malnutrition. He emphasised on "strengthening of human resources, especially the marginalised sections of society and prosperity of farmers, which will lead to better development of the state. This will be achieved through people-oriented, transparent and accountable administration".
The budget has made a provision of Rs.3,900 crore for providing rice at Re.1 per kg to 85 per cent families of the state under "Mukhyamantri Khaddyanna Suraksha Yojana" towards implementation of the The Chhattisgarh Food and Nutrition Security Act.
A provision of Rs.8,459 crore has been made for the agriculture and allied sectors.
The chief minister announced about providing incentive to farmers at Rs.300 per quintal for paddy procurement of 2013 Kharif and provisioned Rs.2,400 crore for the same in the budget.
The total outlay for the social sector has been pegged at Rs.20,851 crore, which includes 12 percent for school education, eight percent for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes development, five percent for health and three percent for women and child development.
The state government has offered several bonanzas in the education sector and announced free education to girl students of government colleges up to graduation
Interest rates have also been further reduced to one percent for education loans under the "Mukhyamantri Uchcha Siksha Krinn Anudan Yojana" while giving interest-free education loans under the scheme for students of Naxal-affected districts.