On Friday, Rajasthan’s Chief Minister, Ashok Gehlot, presented the state budget in the Rajasthan Assembly, following a tumultuous event in which he mistakenly read the previous year’s budget for seven minutes before being corrected by the chief whip. The opposition BJP members staged a protest, claiming that the budget was leaked before its official presentation in the house. After apologizing for the error, Ashok Gehlot went on to deliver the actual budget for 2023-24.
Some of the highlights of the budget include:
- Free electricity to more than 11 lakh farmers consuming less than ₹2,000 per month, with uninterrupted power supply for farming being a top priority for the government.
- The implementation of the Rajasthan Farmers Debt Relief Act, aimed at safeguarding the lands of small and marginal farmers from being auctioned.
- Benefits under the Old Pension Scheme for employees of various boards and corporations in the state. This is a continuation of the revival of the OPS that was announced in the previous year’s budget.
- The introduction of the Gig Workers Welfare Act and the establishment of a board and a welfare fund of ₹200 crore, in response to the growing gig economy and the increasing number of gig workers in the state (estimated at 3-4 lakh). These measures are aimed at protecting gig workers from harassment.
- An inflation relief package of ₹19,000 crore, which includes providing free food packets every month to poor families.
- Ashok Gehlot also announced LPG cylinders for ₹500 under the Ujjwala scheme and an increase in coverage from ₹10 lakh to ₹25 lakh per year per family under the Chiranjeevi Swasthya Bima Yojana.