For the last twenty years Rajasthan government was presenting its budget in the state assembly after centre's budget. The mandarins in the finance department, during all these years, successfully sold the idea to the successive finance ministers that it is always wise to present the budget after union government'sbudget as by then it would have the fair idea, how much state government would get by way its share in the taxes and other central funds. This used to result in delay in releasing the funds, allocated to various departments, for their schemes.
In January, Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, who hold the finance portfolio, indicated that this times budget of the state government for the year 2008-09 would be presented in the state assembly before Railway budget and general budget of the central government. Many people could not understand as to why she wanted to restore the old tradition of the state government to come with its budget before the union government's budget . Elections to the state assembly are expected to be held around November. So, this was going to be the last budget of the present government. By presenting her budget early she wanted to ensure that finance department should release the funds for different departments by first week of the next financial year. This would help the department in achieving its target in time. Past experience shows that by and large only about 30 per cent of the funds, earmarked in the budget, were actually spent by the various departments during the first six month of the year. This was mainly because finance department took its own time to release the funds. Generally funds were not released before July or later than that. While presenting her budget she said during the year Rs 19531.76 crore would be spend on developmental schemes. She expressed the confidence that majority of work under these schemes would be completed during the next six months. The sound financial position of the state government could be judged as Smt. Raje presented her fourth successive surplus budget. This goes to her credit that this she achieved without imposing any new taxes. Her budget was not only surplus by over Rs 180 crore, at the same time she gave something to virtually every section of the society. She gave a direct relief of about Rs 70 crore to the common man by abolishing taxes on several items of daily use. Time and again, Reserve Bank of India, Planning Commission and other financial institutions have praised the financial management of the BJP government. When BJP came into power in 2003-2004 the finances of the state government were in shambles. It was known as BIMARU state where no industrialist would think of putting up any industry. But a recent report of the World Bank has included Jaipur among the ten top cities of the country, which are emerging as a growing destination for investment. Since previous government was enable to mobilise resources for annual plan, the plan for 2003-2004 was fixed at merely Rs 4000 crore. In comparison to this, annual plan of the state government for the next year has been approved to nearly Rs 16000 registering an increase of four folds. In fact Planning Commission during the discussion with Smt. Raje found that state government was capable of mobilising more resources for plan expenditure. Perennial power shortage was major constrain, which had forbidden the entrepreneurs to put up any industry in the state. Soon after coming to power she announced that state government would give top-most priority to increase the power production. Many new projects were started. Last year she said that by the end of 2009 Rajasthan would be power surplus state. The allocation, in the budget for this sector shows that government was going to spend over 40 per cent of the total budget outlay only on power project, so they could be completed in stipulated time. The allocation for the rural development has been increased from 5.42 per cent to 11.57 per cent.
Similarly, the budget outlay for agriculture sector has been increased to 4.06 per cent from the present 1.58 per cent. Her budget has things for every section and every part of the state. Woman empowerment is just not merely a slogan for BJP government. She announced in her budget reservation of seats for women in the Panchayat Raj Institutions would be increased to 50 per cent from the present 33 per cent. Trading community in the state always wants to get away with inspector raj. Earlier BJP government in the state had abolished, octrio, one of the major irritants for the trading community. Responding to the other demand of the community Smt. Raje announced the abolition of 67 interstate check-posts. She also increased the daily wages for unskilled laboures to Rs 100. Wages for semi-skilled workers would be Rs 107, whereas wages for skilled labour has been increased to Rs 110. During the next financial year 40 new Ayurvedic hospitals would be started. Over 3000 primary schools would be upgraded to middle school level and computer education would be made available in all about 6000 middle schools.