No new taxes were levied in the budget for 2019-20 presented by Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot in the State Assembly here on Wednesday, while tax relief worth ₹301 crore was extended to people of the State through various exemptions and amnesty schemes. Mr. Gehlot termed it a “people’s budget”, which had incorporated the aspirations and suggestions of the common people.Modified budgetMr. Gehlot, who also holds the finance portfolio, presented the modified budget for the current fiscal after the Assembly passed the vote-on-account of ₹86,906 crore in February this year in view of the Lok Sabha election. The modified budget’s estimates for total expenditure were ₹2,32,944.01 crore and those for revenue receipts were ₹1,64,004.64 crore.Taking a major step for “ease of doing farming”, Mr. Gehlot proposed the establishment of a ₹1,000 crore fund for farmers’ welfare, which would be utilised for getting remunerative prices for agricultural produces. Natural farming will also be promoted to reduce input costs and encourage traditional methods with an expenditure of ₹10 crore.Various schemesThe budget proposed various schemes in irrigation, renewable energy, water, transport, animal husbandry and health sectors and gave tax relief through new provisions for exemption in stamp duty and registration fee, electricity duty, motor vehicle tax and irrigation tax and amnesty schemes in mining, commercial taxes and industry sectors.Mr. Gehlot announced a policy for new and renewable energy projects and set a target for disbursement of short-term crop loans worth ₹16,000 crore from cooperative banks. He said his government had given “complete benefit” of loan waiver to farmers by paying on its own the dues of ₹6,000 crore left over by the previous BJP regime.The Chief Minister also announced ₹927 crore for State highways, Janata Clinics on the lines of Mohalla Clinics in Delhi, new policy for electric vehicles and exemption to micro, small and medium enterprises from obtaining various permissions for the first three years of their operations.Government jobsAs many as 75,000 vacancies in various government departments will be filled to provide jobs to the youths, while 104 types of new medicines will be included in the State government’s free medicine scheme. Loans worth ₹1 lakh each will be sanctioned to youths under the Chief Minister’s Yuva Rozgar Yojana.
Facing charges of criminal conspiracy and cheating in the Manesar land case, former Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda was on Thursday questioned by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) here.An official, requesting anonymity, said that Mr. Hooda’s statement was recorded under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in the case.The CBI had registered the case in 2015 following allegations that private builders, in conspiracy with some State government officials, had bought about 400 acres in and around Manesar at throwaway prices, causing a loss of about ₹1,500 crore to the owners.Chargesheet filedThe CBI had filed a chargesheet under sections of the IPC related to criminal conspiracy and cheating, and relevant provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act against Mr. Hooda and other accused.