RUPANDEHI, June 18: Aligning the major focus of budget towards agriculture, tourism, and infrastructure development, Province 5 has set an ambitious goal of achieving eight percent growth rate.
While the budget has laid special focus on agriculture sector, major budget has been allocated for infrastructure development. The provincial government has allocated Rs 15.48 billion for Ministry of Physical Infrastructure Development (MoPID), while the budget for Ministry of Land Management, Agriculture and Cooperatives is Rs 4.46 billion.
Chief Minister Shankar Pokharel, who is also looking after the Economic Affairs and Planning portfolio, presented budget of Rs 36.41 billion for the province on Sunday.
The provincial government has claimed that the budget will be result-oriented as it has been introduced on the basis of five-year periodic plan of the federal government. The government has also set a target of reducing absolute poverty. It is targeting to raise per capita gross domestic production (GDP) to Rs 83,414.
The budget aims at bringing changes in agriculture by encouraging farmers and other stakeholders by providing grants and encouraging contract farming, among others. The government has allocated sufficient fund for modernization, mechanization, and commercialization of agriculture sector, Pokharel said at a press meet in Butwal on Monday.
The government has also introduced programs like agricultural employment program, smart agriculture village program, and youth and students-oriented programs to promote farming. Similarly, the provincial government plans to lease out farm land to landless farmers to make sure that cultivable land is not left fallow. To encourage contract farming, the provincial government will pay 100% lease fee in the first year and 50% and 25% in the second and third year, respectively, according to Pokharel.
Similarly, the provincial government has allocated Rs 200 million to build Jibraj Ashrit-Krishna Sen Road, which links Rampur of Palpa and Kapurkot of Salyan, as a provincial pride project. Likewise, it has set aside Rs 100 million for construction of a bypass near Siddhababa section of the Siddhartha Highway and Chunwang-Rukumkot-Sisne road. The provincial government has allocated over Rs 1 billion for construction and maintenance of several roads across the province.
The Province 5 government has allocated Rs 150 million to develop Lumbini and Nepalgunj as tourism hubs, and promote other tourist areas in the province. The budget has also given continuity to the Chief Minister Rural Development Project. The province has set aside Rs 410 million to all municipalities to implement the project. While each rural municipality will receive Rs 150 million, municipality and sub-metropolitan cities will get Rs 200 million and Rs 300 million, respectively.
Other projects enlisted under the budget include those related to higher education, treatment of those injured in the conflict, construction of stadiums, youth and sports related investment, promotion of Dalit community’s traditional skills through Bhagat Sarwajit Shilpa Program, and provision of basic drinking water for all the families within three years.
Though the budget speech states that the provincial government will work to create investment friendly environment in the province, industrialists say they have doubts about implementation of programs included in the budget.