'Aimed' at India, Narendra Modi budget woos youth, women, farmers

Narendra Modi

The Rs 1,14,450-crore Gujarat budget for 2013-14 proposed by Finance Minister Nitin Patel in the Assembly on Wednesday, the first of Chief Minister Narendra Modi's newly-elected government, sought to tell the Gujarat growth story vis-a-vis India's and achieve the five-year dream in the first year itself. As Modi said in a release, "The new budget would build new confidence among people and showcase state's potentialities before the world."

Focussed on youth and farmers, it announced new missions and schemes, referring to India as one of "the youngest nations". The budget announced skill development corporations and foreign language courses to be taken up by the education department.

A press statement by Modi said, "Even as the Central government earmarks just 35 per cent of the Union Budget for development work, Gujarat spends 65 per cent of its budget on development work." He added, "Although the state government was elected for a five-year term, it resolves to fulfil the people's aspirations from the very first year itself. Although Gujarat's contribution to the nation during the 12th Five Year Plan has begun in the outgoing financial year, the state government proposes to take Gujarat to greater heights, contributing a lion's share to the nation's development as well, for a prosperous future."

While Patel's budget speech termed malnutrition as a "national problem", the CM's statement said "the new budget would also handsomely contribute to women's empowerment and their welfare, to healthcare and create awareness against malnutrition". For its mission "Balam Sukham" the government has allocated Rs 24 crore to improve "the status of nutrition". This is besides Rs 1,094 crore allocated under the Integrated Child Development Scheme.

Identifying a "neo-middle class youth", Patel's said, "We intend to launch a massive campaign to prepare skilled manpower in line with requirements of international trends and fulfil the expectations of the neo-middle class youth".

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