Rs 12.89 crore surplus, tax-free budget for Arunachal

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Itanagar, Mar 19 (UNI) Arunachal Pradesh Finance Minister Kalikho Pul today presented a tax-free Rs 12.89 crore surplus budget, with major thrusts on social, education, power, tourism, health and road sectors.

Talking to mediapersons immediately after the budget presentation, Mr Pul, while terming the budget as ''people's budget'', said efforts were made to cover all sectors equally.

The plan outlay for the Budget Estimate for 2008-09 was fixed at Rs 1,800 crore against the plan outlay of Rs 1,320 crore of the current fiscal. However, the annual plan 2008-09 has been increased to Rs 2,065 crore by adding the Prime Minister's package of Rs 265 crore, the Finance Minister said during his budget speech.

''A provision of Rs 13.82 crore has been made for Centrally sponsored schemes, besides Rs 3.80 crore for NEC schemes and Rs 4.10 crore for the Non-Lapsable Central Pool of Resources (NLCPR)'', he informed.

The non-plan outlay for budget estimate 2008-09 was Rs 1,377.75 crore while the non-plan revenue expenditure budget estimate was fixed at Rs 1,187.91 crore and the non-plan capital expenditure at Rs 189.84 crore, he said.

With no imposition of any fresh taxes, the 2008-09 budget also proposed to reduce Value Added Tax (VAT) from 12.5 per cent to four per cent on certain edible items while tax currently levied on several other items had been completely abolished.

The Finance Minister also informed that entry taxes on medicines for certain programmes such as National TB and AIDS control had been exempted as these medicines came in kind from the Centre.

Mr Pul said the state government would provide financial assistance during the current fiscal to the police department and also utilise the Central schemes for modernisation of police forces.

Mr Pul informed that the state government had accorded top priority to the education sector by providing free textbooks and increasing the amount of stipend for all ST students.

Grants would also be provided for construction of classrooms, teachers' residences, approach roads and library buildings in various colleges of the state, besides development of sports and cultural activities.

The state government also proposed to provide Rs five crore under decentralised plan to the deputy commissioners and district medical officers to purchase medicines, he said.

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