Backward districts to get Budget focus

Backward districts to get Budget focus

Backward districts to get Budget focus

Around 200 odd backward districts, most of which are in eastern India, will get the Union Budget focus on Thursday. The Niti Aayog has been drawing government's attention to these districts as it believes they are holding back entire India's development.

Seven to eight states, including Bihar, Odisha and West Bengal, have focussed little on education, health and other vital parameters.

The Niti Aayog has also drawn the Centre's attention to governance failure in many of these states.

Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant had come down heavily on the states, saying they needed to be named and shamed.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will stop short of doing that but may allocate funds for development of these districts and also announce stricter implementation norms to prevent leakage of funds. "These districts require a radical transformation in governance," said an official.

Experts believe these districts are a major hindrance in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's initiative of New India. Kant had recently said that 8-9% economic growth is achievable if these districts alone are developed.

Other than this, the Budget is also expected to reduce import duty on gold by 2-4% in the wake of increased smuggling of the yellow metal. Gems and jewellery sector may also get the finance minister's attention.