Rajasthan announces farm loan waiver, tax relief in pre-poll budget

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Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje on Monday announced a Rs 8,000-crore loan waiver for farmers, Rs 650 crore tax relief and Rs 44,135 crore expenditure on social and community schemes in the budget for 2018-19 presented in the assembly.

Opposition Congress members created a ruckus in the House after Raje's announcement.

The chief minister announced one-time crop loan waiver up to Rs 50,000 for small and marginal farmers, exemption of "lagan" on land (land revenue) and constitution of Rajasthan state Farmers Debt Relief Commission for settlement of crop loans on merit basis.

This announcement comes amid widespread farmers' distress.

Free travel in state road buses for old age people beyond 80 years and 50 per cent concession for one attendant.

Congress, who demanded the Raje government to wave off the entire loan, said it was betrayal with farmers. An underpass from Ramniwas garden to Delhi road was also announced to ease traffic woes.

Meanwhile, the government's flagship Annapurna Rasoi scheme, on the lines of Tamil Nadu's Amma Canteens, to provide low priced meals to the poor, also found a mention.

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After drawing much flak on a press gag order past year, the Raje government announced subsidised home loans for journalists for up to Rs 25 lakh.

According to the Chief Minister, Amer Fort will be developed as an iconic destination with Rs 20 crore funds. The state will also start the first Skills University in the country to train over 2 lakh youths in various skills for better job opportunities; eight new ITI's will also be opened to this effect.

It was also announced that state women employees will get two years' child care leave. Sanitary pads will be distributed in all government schools.

The Chief Minister even announced a Rs. 25 lakhs reward for Kamlesh Nagarkoti, who hails from the state, for his impressive performance for Indian cricket team in the recently concluded Under-19 World Cup.

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The state budget for 2018-19 envisaged a total outlay of Rs 1,07,865.40 cr on schemes and projects.

Free WiFi facilities will be provided in state universities. "In the last 4 years, we have completed the construction and fix of 49,878 kilometres of roads", Raje said.