All provinces unveil annual budgets with focus on improving healthcareUniversal vaccination against Covid-19 is among the major features of the annual financial plans.
All seven provinces on Tuesday unveiled their budgets for the next fiscal year 2021-22 beginning mid-July, putting maximum focus on constructing advanced health care systems and infrastructure, and allocating funds to vaccinate all people against the coronavirus.
Their combined budgets for the next fiscal year come to Rs262 billion, down slightly from the Rs264.20 billion for the current fiscal year. The value of the annual financial plan of Bagmati Province has increased significantly among all provinces.
Province 1 has unveiled a Rs32.46 billion budget for the next fiscal year. Out of the total investment plan, Rs14.16 billion (43.6 percent) has been set aside for recurrent expenditure and Rs15.05 billion (46.3 percent) for capital expenditure. The province's budget for the current fiscal year totals Rs40.89 billion.
Tanka Angbuhang Limbu, the provincial minister for economic affairs and planning, pledged to vaccinate all people. The province has allocated Rs440 million for the control and treatment of Covid-19.
The province has announced upgrading Mechi Hospital to 200 beds and the hospitals in Panchthar and Dhankuta to 100 beds. Other hospitals will be expanded to 50 beds. The budget has allocated Rs3.25 billion for the health sector. The province has launched a comprehensive nutrition programme for children below five years in eight districts.
The province has allocated Rs2.90 billion for the agriculture sector and Rs13.21 billion for physical infrastructure and transport.
The Province 2 government has presented a budget of Rs33.79 billion. Out of the total allocation, Rs15.63 billion has been set aside for recurrent expenditure and Rs18.58 billion for capital expenditure. The budget has given priority to the protection of the lives of the citizens through prevention, control and treatment of coronavirus infection.
Presenting the budget, provincial Minister for Economic Affairs and Planning Vijay Yadav said that Province 2 had allocated Rs200 million for the purchase of essential medicines, kits and other health items for corona prevention and control.
He said that Rs120 million had been allocated for the purchase of 35 dialysis machines for kidney patients. The budget has allocated Rs20 million for scholarships for the families of martyrs and deprived or poor people. Rs35 million has been allocated to promote the one school one nurse programme. Likewise, Rs80 million has been allocated for the employment of poor families and Rs150 million for youth self-employment programmes. The province has allocated Rs180 million for the conservation of the Chure area.
Bagmati Province has unveiled a Rs57.72 billion budget for the next fiscal year. The current fiscal year's budget amounts to Rs42.66 billion. Out of next year's total budget allocation, recurrent expenditure accounts for Rs26 billion and Rs29.70 billion has been allocated for capital expenditure. The province has allocated Rs2 billion for the vaccination programme.
To generate employment and encourage production, the province has allocated Rs2 billion for loan disbursement in coordination with banks and financial institutions. The province has allocated funds to provide Rs3,000 as monthly social and education allowance to children who have lost their father and mother to Covid-19. For children who have lost their father and mother to other reasons, Bagmati Province has decided to grant Rs2,000 as social and education allowance.
The province has allocated a budget to provide free dialysis services for kidney patients in hospitals in Sindhuli, Trishuli and Dhading. To promote domestic tourism, the province has allocated funds to provide travel allowances for 10 days to government employees to visit its mountain region.
Gandaki Province has unveiled a budget of Rs30.03 billion for the next fiscal year. Out of which Rs16.73 billion is for capital expenditure and Rs13.06 billion for current expenditure.
Giving priority to Covid-19 and the health sector, Gandaki Province has allocated a large chunk of the budget for health insurance and upgrading of hospitals.
Chief Minister Krishna Chandra Nepali presented the budget in the provincial assembly on Tuesday. Nepali said that the budget had focused on providing free treatment to women suffering from breast and uterine cancer and miscarriage, and protection to orphaned children and senior citizens. The budget has also given priority to tourism, infrastructure, agriculture and sports.
Gandaki Province has allocated funds to effectively implement air ambulance service using helicopters for pregnant women and women with critical illnesses and newborns. Gandaki Province has allocated funds to upgrade Dhaulagiri Hospital to a 200-bed facility.
The province has allocated funds to prepare a detailed study report to construct a 500-bed teaching hospital with 350-bed general ward, 50-bed kidney ward, 50-bed heart ward and 50-bed cancer ward. The province has allocated funds to provide Rs6,000 as encouragement bonus to health professionals through the district health offices annually.
Lumbini Province has published a budget of Rs40.95 billion for the coming fiscal year. Provincial Minister for Economic Affairs and Planning Baijnath Chaudhary released the budget on Tuesday. A Rs14.93 billion budget has been allocated for recurrent expenditure and Rs21.17 billion for capital spending. Much of the budget is focused on health, agriculture and tourism.
Karnali Province has brought a budget of Rs36.54 billion for the coming fiscal year. On Tuesday, provincial Minister for Economic Affairs and Planning Gopal Sharma presented the budget which is Rs3 billion higher than the current fiscal year's budget. Out of the allocated budget, Rs21.65 billion has been set aside for capital expenditure, Rs11.49 billion for recurrent expenditure and Rs3.39 billion for financial transfer.
Minister Sharma said that the budget had given priority to supply of essential medicines, health materials and equipment, storage of essential food items, food security and job creation to keep Karnali safe from epidemics including Covid-19.
Karnali has allocated Rs540 million for the testing and treatment of Covid-19. The province has decided to provide an allowance equal to the monthly salary to frontline personnel like health professionals, drivers and workers involved in cleanliness for the duration of the pandemic.
Sudurpaschim Province has announced a budget of Rs30.33 billion for the fiscal year 2021-22. Presenting the budget on Tuesday, provincial Minister for Economic Affairs and Planning Prakash Bahadur Shah said that the provincial government had allocated Rs17.65 billion for capital spending and Rs10.66 billion for recurrent expenditure. The province has allocated Rs900 million for the treatment of Covid-19.
(With inputs from district correspondents.)