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Modi presents budget, declares ST Amnesty Scheme for defaulters

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Gandhinagar, Feb 24 (UNI) Chief Minister Narendra Modi, in his first ever budget presentation, today proposed additional taxation of Rs 17.50 crore and relief of Rs 341 crore, leaving an uncovered overall deficit of Rs 296.44 crore for 2006-07, after taking into account Rs 27.06 crore surplus from the previous fiscal.

He also announced a Sales Tax Amnesty scheme wherein if the entire outstanding sales tax is paid by March 31, 2006, the entire interest and penalty will be waived off.

Mr Modi, who retained the Finance portfolio after the previous Finance Minister Vajubhai Vala became the state BJP president, became the fifth Gujarat Chief Minister to present the annual budget.

Rounding up his two-hour long maiden budget speech, he proposed additional taxation of Rs 2.50 crore on entertainment tax and Rs 15 crore on motor vehicle tax. At the same time, he proposed a relief of Rs 195 crore on stamp duty, Rs 120 crore on electricity duty, Rs 18 crore on entertainment tax, Rs three crore on luxury tax and Rs five crore on Motor Vehicle Tax.

The relief is mainly for about 80 lakh small shopkeepers and householders, he stressed.

Since Gujarat has decided to implement the VAT from April 1, 2006, he said the Sales Tax Act, 1969 will stand repealed from the same date. The VAT amendment bill is proposed to be introduced during the current Budget Session itself, he said.

Other Gujarat chief ministers who had presented the budgets as finance ministers also were Madhavsinh Solanki, Babubhai J Patel, Balwantrai Mehta and Jivraj Mehta.

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