Shillong, March 22: With no fresh taxes proposed to be levied, and with an overdose of dependence on central assistance, Meghalaya chief minister Mukul Sangma today tabled a deficit budget for 2013-14 fiscal.
Making his maiden budget speech after being re-elected to power last month, Sangma proposed an estimated expenditure of Rs 9,135 crore with estimated receipts of Rs 8,609 crore, resulting in a fiscal deficit of Rs 526 crore.
The fiscal deficit is around 2.62 per cent of the gross state domestic product (SDP) and an increase of Rs 142 crore from 2012-13. The previous budget had reflected a fiscal deficit of Rs 382 crore.
For 2013-14, the total receipts have been estimated at Rs 9,139 crore, an increase of Rs 1,521 crore or 19 per cent over 2012-13. However, excluding borrowings and other liabilities, the total receipts in 2013-14 have been estimated to be Rs 8,609 crore.
The total expenditure for 2013-14 has been estimated at Rs 9,289 crore, an increase of 22.2 per cent over 2012-13. However, excluding repayment of loans and other liabilities, the estimated total expenditure during 2013-14 will be Rs 9,135 crore.
The Plan expenditure, including centrally sponsored schemes, central sector schemes, NEC and non-lapsable central pool of resources (NLCPR), for 2013-14 has been estimated at Rs 5,637 crore, an increase of 27.7 per cent over the current year’s estimate of Rs 4,413 crore.
The total non-plan expenditure for 2013-14 has been estimated at Rs 3,482 crore, an increase of 9.1 per cent from 2012-13.
“The key feature of Meghalaya’s public finance regime has been an over-dependence on central transfers. The state has a limited and relatively inelastic resource base,” the chief minister, who also holds the finance portfolio, stated.
He also said a sizeable gap “exists” between the resources needed to finance development and infrastructure and the resources available.
“The nascent and small private sector will not in the near future be able to contribute significantly,” he added.
But while not proposing any fresh taxes, the chief minister stated that the recommendations from a task force on additional resource mobilisation have been received, and the same are under examination and action would be taken in consultation with the departments concerned.
He also stated that the government has decided to propose a tentative plan of Rs 4,141 crore for 2013-14 pending finalisation of the Plan size by the Planning Commission.
The above outlay includes loan component of Rs 798.5 crore, externally aided component of Rs 405.5 crore, and the 13th Finance Commission award of Rs 116.42 crore.
Of the proposed Rs 4,141 crore, some of the allotments include 26.43 per cent for the social services sector, 19.9 per cent for power sector, 10.34 per cent for transport sector and 9.36 per cent for agriculture and allied activities, 6.47 per cent for irrigation, and 4.88 per cent for rural development programmes.
The new initiatives, which were enlisted by the chief minister in his budget speech, include:
Special programme for women and youth on skill development and entrepreneurship promotion
Super speciality hospital in Ri Bhoi district; engineering college in Jaintia Hills
Wedding assistance to orphan girls
Promotion of essential infrastructure in rural and urban areas by setting up the State Rural Infrastructure Development Initiative (SRIDI) and State Urban Infrastructure Development Initiative (SUIDI)
Reorganisation of community and rural development blocks
Development of thematic villages in critical sectors in rural areas —housing, sanitation and energy
An additional domestic LPG cylinder to every registered cardholder at subsidised rate
Parking bays at Shillong, Tura and Jowai to ease traffic congestion.
Scholarships to sportspersons who have made a mark at national and state levels.
Special coaching programmes for talented youth in football, table tennis, badminton, archery and other sports.
New affordable housing scheme for the needy
On the mechanisms to plug the revenue leakage, Sangma, while speaking to reporters, said the government would resort to technology to monitor revenue collection on real-time basis.
He also informed that Meghalaya, from its own resources, could generate only 20 per cent of the total fund required while the shortfall has to be met by the Centre.
On the non-imposition of fresh taxes, Sangma said proper study was required before levying taxes. He also said various taxes had been levied in the preceding years.