House passes over Rs 2,984 cr vote-on-account

CM tables deficit budget

:Do you feel Budget session of Meghalaya Assembly should have been a longer one?
SMS your response to 562

SHILLONG: Chief Minister Dr Mukul Sangma on Wednesday presented a deficit budget of Rs 527 crore for the financial year 2014-15, and proposed hike in the rates for tobacco and tobacco related products to 20%.

Presenting the Budget in Assembly on the last day of the session on Wednesday, Dr Sangma, who also holds the finance portfolio, sought approval of the House for vote-on-account worth over Rs 2,984 crore for 1st quarter of the fiscal starting from April 1, which was passed by the Assembly later.

The vote-on-account was passed since the model code of conduct for Lok Sabha polls restricts passing of the full Budget which will be taken up after the elections.

While the total receipts excluding borrowings and other liabilities for 2014-15 stands at Rs 11,156 crore, the total expenditure excluding repayment of loans and other liabilities is Rs11,683 crore thereby arriving at the deficit budget of Rs 527 crore.

“Under tax and non tax proposals, the Government has increased the rates for tobacco and tobacco related products to 20%,” Dr Sangma said, adding that the Government also notified the export fee on forest products in October 2013.

According to the Chief Minister, these new measures will increase the state’s own resources and the Government is examining the proposal for upward revision of rates on sand and stone.

“We are also exploring the feasibility of increasing the tax slab for liquor and also to bring into the tax net the admissible textile products”, Dr Sangma said.

Additional revenue generation of around Rs 18 crore is expected from the recommendations of the second interim report of Task Force on Resource Mobilization, he added.

Analysing the state economy, the Chief Minister said that there has been an upward movement in the growth of Gross State Domestic Product over the years. From 4% during the 8th plan, the growth rate shot up to 8% during the 11th plan, he said.

Touching on the status of state finance, he said that the state still has a limited and relatively inelastic resource base. A sizeable gap exists between the resources needed to finance development and infrastructure, and the resources available. “The state is, therefore, dependent on finances transferred from the Central Government”, he said. The Chief Minister further said that the state’s own revenue is only around 22% of the available resources.

“The fiscal health of Meghalaya viewed in terms of key parameters such as revenue deficit, fiscal deficit, and primary deficit indicates that the state has been faring well, with all indicators almost within targets fixed by the Thirteenth Finance Commission”, he said.

The Chief Minister said that he had apprised the 14th Finance Commission to consider an award of around Rs 50,000 crore to cover, inter-alia, the upgradation of infrastructure and state’s specific needs, maintenance of roads and completed schemes and normalization of posts.

He said that the education project of 125 million US dollar signed between Government of India and Asian Development Bank on January 23 in New Delhi to improve the quality, delivery and access to Secondary and Higher Secondary School Education will facilitate result oriented technical and vocational skills training in the state especially for women.

The Chief Minister said that though the size of the annual plan for 2014-15 is yet to be finalized with the Planning Commission, the Government proposed a plan size of Rs 4545 crore which would be an increase of 9.5% from last year.

On the law and order front, the Chief Minister admitted that there are challenges to internal security posed by militant outfits in certain pockets of the state. The Government is fully aware of its responsibility and will deal with the challenge with a firm hand, he said.

A peaceful and harmonious environment is a pre-requisite for the development of the State. Disruptive and violent tendencies ultimately lead to reversal of achievements made by a society, he added.

“Hence, it makes eminent sense to spend more on maintenance of law

and order so that development can take place. It should be seen as

productive investment, because all other investments in developmental

activities would be futile and wasted if there is violence and disturbance

in the society”, Dr Sangma said, ctiting the reason for recruiting 1,795 personnel to raise a full-fledged unit of commando force to be known as Special Force 10. He said this initiative will bring about a sense of security in the minds of people.

While proposing a plan outlay of Rs 104.15 crore for 2014-15 for the power sector, the Chief Minister said that though the demand for power is above 600 MW, the installed capacity in the state is only 314 MW.

The plan outlay for other departments include District Councils ( Rs 5.50 crore), Commerce and Industries (Rs 33 crore), Mining and Geology(Rs 5 crore), Health (Rs 380.5 crore), General Education (Rs 413.60 crore), Technical Education (Rs 7 crore), Labour ( Rs 10 crore), Social Welfare (Rs 152.3 crore), Water supply and sanitation (Rs 309.40 crore), Rural Development (Rs 539.64 crore), Border development (Rs 39.50 crore), Food and Civil Supplies(Rs 1.30 crore), Roads and Bridges(Rs 428.90 crore),Transport(Rs7.44 crore),Urban Development (Rs 169 crore),Housing (43.20 crore),Agriculture (Rs128.45 crore),Water Resources ( Rs 221.20 crore),Soil and Water Conservation (Rs 263 crore), Animal Husbandry (40.50 crore), Dairy development (Rs 6 crore), Sericulture and Weaving (Rs 10 crore), Fisheries(Rs 23 crore),Forest(Rs 80 crore), Co-operation(Rs 14 crore),Tourism(Rs 24 crore),Art and Culture (Rs 30 crore), Information and Public Relations(Rs 9.50 crore),Sports(Rs 40.85 crore), Information Technology( Rs 25.50 crore), Prisons ( Rs 4.50 crore) Civil Defence ( Rs 5.35 crore) Personnel (Rs 7 crore), and Revenue and Disaster Management ( Rs 60 lakh)