Opting for populism with a slew of freebies and measures for social sector in its last full Budget before the Assembly polls next year, the Mamata Banerjee government on Monday proposed free electricity to those with quarterly consumption of up to 75 units and rolled out sops for senior citizens and unemployed youth.
Finance Minister Amit Mitra presented the budget for 2020-21 which has an outlay of Rs 2,55,677 crore with limited deficit of Rs 8 crore.
With an eye on the 2021 Assembly polls and elections to 107 civic bodies to be held this year, he announced a slew of schemes for senior citizens, unemployed youth, rural households and the backward sections of the people.
In the elections, the ruling Trinamool Congress is likely to face a stiff challenge from the BJP after it won 18 out of the 42 Lok Sabha seats from the state last year. The Budget made an allocation of Rs 5,150 crore for 2020-21 primarily targetting the social sectors, and also for creating employment in MSMEs.
Mitra said the government has made allocations for opening new universities, welfare for the aged people belonging to SC and ST categories, workers in the unorganised sector, MSME sector, assistance to unemployed youth, tea garden workers, besides making provisions for providing free power to the poor and assistance for getting government jobs.
The government also proposed agricultural income tax waiver for tea gardens for the next two fiscals.