Rs 80 cr deficit budget, new tax avenues mooted
Shillong, Mar 24 (UNI) A Rs 79.88 crore deficit budget was presented in the Meghalaya Assembly today in which Finance Minister Dr Donkupar Roy proposed to examine feasibility of introducing new levies to net additional resources during the next fiscal.
Dr Roy said mobilisation of additional resources was necessary to support plan expenditure, especially capital expenditure, adding that it was proposed to strengthen and streamline the existing tax and non-tax revenue collection network with emphasis on plugging leakages and loopholes in the system.
He also stressed the need for rationalising existing levies and taxes on certain items apart from introducing user charges for public services in specific sectors.
The budget estimates envisaged an opening deficit of Rs 133,95,87,496.
The total receipt including receipts under Public Accounts projected during the next year is Rs 15,308,76,49,000 against a corresponding expenditure including expenditure on Public Account of Rs 15,254,68,78,000 that will result in surplus of Rs 54,0771,000.
''With an opening deficit, the budget hence anticipates a deficit of Rs 79,88,16,496,'' Dr Roy said.
Dr Roy later presented a vote on account for covering expenditure during the first three months of the year that sought to withdraw Rs 670,40,32,250 from and out of consolidated fund.
For the coming year, the budget allocation for police department stood at Rs 144,39 crore. Dr Roy said the proposal for creation of a fifth battalion would be pursued ''vigorously'' adding Meghalaya had now been conferred category 'A' status and would be entitled to 100 per cent central assistance under the police modernisation scheme.
Power sector got Rs Rs 242.35 crore while education was given Rs 73 crore.
The roads and bridges got priority in the budget with the PWD getting Rs Rs 112.13 crore.
Reiterating ''Health for All'', the Finance Minister earmarked Rs 49 crore as plan outlay while social welfare was allocated Rs 38.50 crore.
Dr Roy said the government attached great importance to the welfare of women and children hence the plan outlay for the department was 12.93 per cent higher than the revised estimate.
Saying that agriculture and horticulture play an important role in the economic life of Meghalaya, he proposed Rs 35.46 crore for the department.
The much-hyped tourism department, which the government had been trying to promote to attract both national and international tourists, would get a paltry Rs 2.60 crore while the IT sector was given Rs five crore.
Budget allocations meant for some other departments included--border area scholarship scheme (Rs eight crore), I&PR (Rs three crore), sports (Rs ten crore) and industries (Rs 19.77 crore).
UNI PRS PL VD RK1635