Puducherry, Aug 29: Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy today presented a tax free Rs 6,665 crore budget for the fiscal 2016-17 in the state Assembly. Presenting the budget, Narayanasamy said, "The budget size for the fiscal 2016-2017 has been fixed at Rs 6,665 crore of which Rs 4,100 crore is for the non-plan head."
The Puducherry State Planning Board had recommended a budget size of Rs 7,665 crores to the Centre for the current fiscal which included an additional grant assistance of Rs 1,000 crores from the Centre and additional borrowings totalling Rs 200 crores. The Centre has approved the additional borrowings and regarding the additional grant assistance, discussions were held with the governments of the Centre and the Union Territory, he said.
The Centre had assured that it has an open mind on the matter and a favourable action could be expected in the next few months, he said. Appropriate steps have to be taken to increase financial resources. The Excise Department had been given a target of Rs 775 crores for this fiscal, the CM said.
"The revenue realised by Excise Department last fiscal was Rs 673.75 crores and based on the past performance the department had been given the target of Rs 775 crores," he said. Narayanasamy said in order to improve business, the Traders Association had requested the government to reduce the rate of taxes on various commodities.
A new industrial policy is on the anvil with an aim to create a peaceful, harmonious, investor-friendly atmosphere, he said. Stating that the government had proposed to implement "safe city project" with an estimated outlay of Rs 50.75 crore, the Puducherry Chief Minister said this project was aimed at strengthening and modernising the police force which included integrated intelligence strengthening and surveillance system.
Narayanasamy said it had been proposed to exempt helmets from Value Added Tax to promote the habit of helmet wearing among two-wheelers for safe driving. He also announced a hike in monthly pension to freedom fighters from the present Rs 7,000 to Rs 8000.
Narayanasamy added that the government would bring in a medical insurance scheme for journalists and hike the monthly pension to retired media persons to 7,000 from the present Rs 6000.