Itahari, 14 June (2020) – On Monday, Economic Affairs and Planning Minister of State-1 Indra Angbo (Mausam) presented the government’s fiscal budget for 2077/78  at the State Assembly. The budget with the total amount of Rs. 40,890,000,099 includes 46.29% of current expenditure and 53.71% of capital expenditure. The budget has projected an economic growth rate of 3.41 percent in the upcoming fiscal.

This is the third budget of the historic state-1 government of Nepal. The following are the major takeaways of the budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

  1. 1Special package for COVID-19 hospital: The state budget has prioritized infrastructure development of the Biratnagar-based 50-bed COVID-19 Hospital built by the state government on April 3. The budget has allocated Rs. 500 million for transforming it into a specialist hospital for infectious disease and research.
  2. Provincial and district hospital-focused budget: The budget has allocated Rs. 230 million for Provincial Mechi Hospital of Jhapa with facilities of CT-scan, hemodialysis, ventilators, among others. Additional Rs. 1.1 billion is allocated for hospital improvements and service expansion. This section includes the development of laboratory improvements, ventilator facility, Intensive Care Unit, oxygen plant to the 50-bed district hospital. Likewise, this budget includes transforming 25-bed hospitals into smart hospitals.
  3. Special package for a provincial public health laboratory: Rs. 64.6 million has been allocated for improvement of the facilities and procurement of the latest technical equipment like the Polymerase Chain Reaction machine and construction of an advanced building.

The budget says the construction of the building would be accomplished within the upcoming fiscal year with the assistance of donor agencies.

  1. Special budget for university and research purposes: Rs. 135 million is funneled for the structural and functional improvements of the Manmohan Technical University of the state. Additional Rs. 50 million is allocated for the research and study about higher education and public colleges. Rs. 10 million is allocated for an industrial academy in the Madan Bhandari Memorial Academy targeting primary and medium level technical workforce. Rs. 150 million is channeled for multi-technical schools at Taplejung, Panchthar, Terhathum, Shankhuwasabha, and Solukhumbu. The budget has also constituted the ‘state innovation fund’.
  2. Special budget for online, distant and differently-abled education: The state budget has focused on studies stalled owing to the COVID-19 pandemic through online, television, and radio classes in the state. For this, Rs. 300 million has been allocated. Another Rs. 11 million is allocated for special scholarships for students from Dalit and marginalized communities while Rs. 22 million is set aside for studies for various disabilities.
  3. Budget for tea manufacturing plant:Rs. 165 million is allocated for the entire package of tea sector development in the state. This package includes establishments of tea testing and manufacturing center at Fikkal of Suryodaya Municipality of Ilam. This plant is meant to brand Nepal’s typical tea in the global market.
  4. Budget for ‘organic state’: The fiscal budget has targeted an ambitious goal of creating an organic state. For this, the budget has allocated Rs. 98.4 million. The budget will support organic farming activities in the state.
  5. Multi-year roads and Chief Minister rural roads: Rs. 5,212,300,000 is allocated for 62 multi-year roads and Chief Minister rural roads of the state. Rs. 600 million is allocated for Biratchowk-Ghinaghat four-lane roads as a special roadways project of the state government.
  6. Priority for hydropower and green energy:The budget has said the government would study 200-megawatt hydropower projects in collaboration with federal government. Another 20-megawatt hydropower and wind power would be developed.
  7. Tourism infrastructures for history and trails:State government has allocated Rs. 1191 million for tourism development. This includes infrastructural developments for various religious and cultural shrines like Halesi, Pathibhara, Barahkshetra, Temke, Silauti, Mangsebung, Labrekuti. Likewise, historical and archeological places like Bijayapur, Birat Durbar, Hilihang Durbar, Kichakbadh, Chaudahndi, Hatuwagadhi are developed under this tourism budget. The development of various trekking trails would be started from the Mundhum trail of Bhojpur.
  8. One district, one product, and self-reliant economy: On the economic and industrial front, the budget has allocated Rs. 205 million for ‘self-reliant economy’ and ‘one district, one product’ scheme. One district, one product scheme would accommodate all migrant workers returning home owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  9. First floodlights-fitted stadium: For the first time in the state, the budget has allocated funds for the installation of permanent floodlights for nighttime sporting activities at Shahid Stadium of Biratnagar. For this and other sporting activities, the budget has allocated Rs. 300 million. The budget has also said to establish State Sports Board.
  10. Secured border, secured lived program: The state government has envisioned the slogan ‘secured border, secured lives’. This will enhance the Border Outpost (BOP) at the international border points with both India and China. However, no specific budget is allocated to this title.
  11. Digital state: The budget has allocated Rs. 50 million for works related to the establishment of the ‘digital state.’
  12. Mission child marriage free state: The budget has provisioned a five-year plan to completely eradicate child marriage from the state. It is said to make state-1 the child marriage free state by 2025. However, no specific amount of budget is mentioned on this issue. RSS