Public Infra, education and healthcare key priorities in Gujarat Budget

Nitinbhai Patel, Finance Minister and Deputy Chief Minister for the State of Gujarat announced the budgetary measures for FY2021-22 today

March 3, 2021

Healthcare and education are the key focus sectors of the budget, correcting the previous pattern on industry overspending.

Unspent allocations are expected to rise to 10% from the previous years’ records of 5-7%.

Rural development, law enforcement and infrastructure development are the sectors with maximum allocation.

The Ahmedabad-Mumbai bullet train project with an allocation of US$ 205mn is on the anvil.

The Government of Gujarat announced the State budget allocations today with priorities spread across the enhancement of the public sector and creating the appropriate infrastructure for sectoral growth. Education and healthcare were identified as the key focus areas of the budget announcements. Finance Minister Nitinbhai Patel announced that the quantum of unspent allocation is expected to rise to 10% during FY2021-22 owing to COVID-19 as against the previous years’ quantum of 5-7%. The sectors that received the highest allocation as per the announcement included rural development, law enforcement and infrastructure development. Governor Acharya Devvrat remarked on the growth trajectory of the State  “The economic indicators during the last 4-5 months have been good. The initial fear was that the economy would be badly hit. But the economy is on a path of recovery. From the government’s side there are no restrictions on utilisation of budgetary provisions. Secondly, there is also a typical tendency to spend maximum the last month of March” . A breakdown of the key announcements for the sectors and public initiatives will be as follows: 

  • Education sector – US$ 4.48mn
  • Healthcare sector – US$ 1.5bn
  • Energy and petroleum sector – US$ 1.7bn
  • Social justice and empowerment – US$ 596mn
  • Labour welfare and employment – US$ 205mn
  • Urban Development –  US$ 1.8bn
  • Ahmedabad-Mumbai bullet train – US$ 205mn
  • Climate change – US$ 124mn
  • Ports and Transportation – US$ 202mn
  • Roads and buildings – US$ 1.5bn
  • Water resources – US$ 752mn
  • Krishi Khedut Kalyan Yojana – US$ 991mn
  • Forest and environment protection –  US$ 991mn

The budgetary allocations appear to take on a path to moderate the previous years’ pattern of devoting a bulk of the capital allocation towards industry empowerment, leaving a very limited bandwidth for spending on education and healthcare. It is imperative that reforms trickle down to all citizens including tribal communities. Experts point out the need for there to be an increase of poverty alleviation programmes as well as sustained efforts to combat malnutrition and bring down maternal mortality rates.