Gujarat Finance Minister Nitin Patel presented the Budget for the year 2020-21 with an overall surplus of ₹275.27 crore without any fresh taxes.

In a big relief for cold storage infrastructure, religious places, small traders, businessmen and artisans, the Budget provided for a ₹330.16-crore relief in electricity duty.

The total size of the Budget was₹2,17,287 crore, which is higher by ₹12,472 crore over the previous Budget in 2019-20.

Patel, who is also the Deputy Chief Minister of the State, said the Budget lays special thrust on “education, health, agriculture, water management, energy, rural and urban development and also social development.”

Welcoming the announcements, Ashish Guru, President, Gujarat Cold Storage Association said, “Our industry was passing through a bad phase over the last three years and a number of cold storage units were on the verge becoming non-performing assets (NPA). This year as potato production and price outlook looked promising, we now have some confidence to receive rent in full. As the industry attempts to rise from the fall, this announcement is a handholding action of State government,” said Guru referring to the proposed reduction in electricity duty on cold storages to 10 per cent from 20 per cent.

The decision is also seen as a big boost for the farming community and about 1,300 cold storages situated in the state will be benefited by this.

Patel made ₹13,917 crore allocation for energy sector, even as the estimates for 2020-21 shows revenue receipts at ₹1,62,447 crore. Patel made total provisions of ₹4,317 crore for water supply including linking 13,300 villages and 203 urban areas to clean drinking water via water supply grid, the ambitious scheme of nal se jal (supply of tapped water) to every household in next two years. The announcements also covered new schemes for electricity to farmers, setting up sub-stations and transmission network, as well as providing interest subsidy to farmers on farm loans. A big thrust is also given on improving storage infrastructure for agriculture, with support from the State for setting up godowns and on-farm storage facilities.

For the industries, the State Finance Minister also announced assistance for mega innovative project for aerospace and defence sector. There is budgetary assistance for climate change initiatives, including providing a subsidy of ₹40,000 to 800 beneficiaries for purchase of e-rickshaws and 10,000 rupees to 1,000 beneficiaries for purchase of battery-operated two-wheelers.