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Pul presents surplus budget with negative balance

Written by: Staff

Itanagar, Mar 23: Arunachal Pradesh Finance Minister Kalikho Pul has presented a Rs 2.88 crore surplus budget for the year 2006-2007 with a negative opening balance of Rs 110.78 crore.

Highlighting the salient features of the budget, the finance minister announced lat night that there would be no new taxes in the state during the year. However, rates of existing taxes would be increased and necessary action would be initiated to reduce unproductive expenditures, he said.

''The state government has proposed to exempt Value Added Tax (VAT) on life saving drugs and the 12.5 per cent Entry Tax on personalised motor vehicles and two wheelers would be abolished,'' he informed, adding, the government also proposed to exempt some essential items of consumption produced within the state from tax.

The finance minister said the fiscal position of the state government during the next financial year would be shaped largely by the enactment of Fiscal Responsibility Legislation (FRL) by the government as per recommendation of the Twelfth Finance Commission (TFC).

''There are some important issues which need to be addressed by the state government in the context of fiscal correction and consolidation. The process of fiscal correction, should be durable and sustainable'', he emphasised.

As recommended by the TFC, the government would consider following a holistic approach to fiscal restructuring, emphasizing on revenue augmentation, rationalization of unproductive expenditure and containment of debt at sustainable levels.

As the state government is facing resource gap, a desirable path to fiscal correction lies through appropriate user charges, cost recovery from social and economic services, Mr Pul stressed.

The finance minister said that the Planning Commission has increased the agreed plan outlay of the state for the annual plan 2006-07 to Rs 1100 crore against the plan outlay of Rs 950 crore of the current financial year. The percentage increase in the plan size for the next fiscal was 15.80 per cent, he added. ''The aggregate plan resources of Rs 1100 crore comprises Rs 60.70 crore as special plan assistance and Rs 74 crore as one time additional central assistance.

The plan outlay for 2006-07 also includes a substantial increase in allocation under Accelerated Irrigation Programme by Rs 10 crore from Rs 20 crore in the current fiscal'', he informed, adding, the allocation for Accelerated Power Development and Reforms Programme has also been increased from Rs 6.84 crore in the current year to Rs. 10 crore for 2006-07.

For National Urban Renewal Mission, an amount of Rs 5 crore has been allocated while for special assistance an amount of Rs 30 crore and an amount of Rs 74 core has been allocated under one time additional central assistance, Mr Pul informed adding, a provision of Rs 34.29 crore has been made for central plan schemes and centrally sponsored schemes, while a provision of Rs 3.26 crore has been made for NEC schemes and Rs. 4,48 crore for the non-lapsable central pool of resources.

''These are token provisions and the actual figures would depend on sanctions during the course of the year'', he added.

The non - plan outlay for 2006-07 has been estimated at Rs 1112.15 crore and the non-plan revenue expenditure for the period has been fixed at Rs 980.98 crore while the non-plan capital expenditure was fixed at Rs 131.17, he said adding, the estimates were based on six per cent growth on salary account for increase in DA and annual increment in basic pay and three per cent growth on others account over the non-plan revenue revised estimate 2005-06.

Later addressing a press conference, the finance minister informed that the state would be entitled to consolidate all past loans to be repayable at a lower rate of interest at 7.5 per cent after enactment of fiscal responsibility legislation.

''The state government's emphasis during the next fiscal would be on investment in thrust areas like spending on social service, adequate investment in revenue generating economic infrastructure like power, transport, tax and excise, tourism, mines and minerals, road and forest, investment in agriculture and horticulture sectors, besides strengthening the police forces to improve law and order situation in the state'', Mr Pul said.


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