Partially succumbing to the demands of the Patels, the Gujarat government on Tuesday allocated Rs 506 crore for the welfare of educationally and economically backward families of all classes not enjoying the benefits of reservation.
This was announced here on Tuesday by State Finance Minister Nitin Patel while presenting the Budget proposals for 2018-19.
However, this amount allocated to Gujarat Bin-anamat (unreserved) Educational and Economic Development Corporation would be shared by as many as 58 caste groups comprising Patels, Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaniks, Lohana, Soni, Khamar, Maheswaris and others.
Nitin Patel presented the Rs 1,83,666 crore Budget amidst a walkout by Opposition Congress legislators who shouted slogans like “Narmada ka Paani, pee gaya Rupani”, in an apparent reference to the state government notifying the farmers that water from the river would not be available for the coming sowing season.
The Budget session of the assembly was also interrupted by journalists walking out of the press gallery in protest against their seating arrangement been made very uncomfortable following the Rs 135 crore renovation of the complex.
While the new seats have been rendered less wide than even primary school benches, access to some rows is impossible without making others vacate their seats.
Revenue Minister Kaushik Patel rushed to the press gallery and promised to re-arrange the seating arrangement by this weekend. The journalists were later accommodated in one of the visitors’ galleries where there are no desks for writing.
In a tacit admission that liquor is available freely to permit holders though prohibition is in force, the Finance Minister increased the excise duty on spirit, beer and wine as well as hiking its transportation fee. Special fee on foreign liquor imported from outside India has also been increased in the Budget proposals for 2018-19.