Chhattisgarh budget focuses on inclusive growth

February 23rd, 2008 - 8:55 pm ICT by admin  

Raipur, Feb 23 (IANS) The Chhattisgarh government Saturday presented the budget for the fiscal 2008-09 with special stress on inclusive growth and without any fresh taxes. The Rs.18,286 crore (Rs.182.86 billion) budget for the financial year 2008-09 that Chief Minister Raman Singh, who also holds the finance portfolio, presented shows an overall deficit of Rs.820 crore (Rs.8.20 billion) while the net budget deficit stands at Rs.54 crore (Rs.540 million).

The gross fiscal deficit is estimated at Rs.1,912 crore (Rs.19.12 billion), which is three percent of the GDP and as per the target set under the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act.

With an estimated growth of 12 percent in tax revenue and 13 percent in non-tax revenue, it is the third consecutive year revenue collections at Rs.1,778 crore (Rs.17.78 billion) were in surplus.

The budget estimate of Rs.18,286 crore (Rs.182.86 billion) is 10 percent higher than the current year’s revised estimate of Rs.16,687 crore (Rs.166.87 billion).

With no hike in taxes, the government has reduced value added tax (VAT) on many items and proposed exemption for all salaried classes from the ambit of professional tax with special focus on welfare schemes, and gender development.

For the first time the government has presented a “gender budget” with stress on the welfare, uplift and empowerment of women.

Stating that the state government had given top priority to a food security scheme to provide rice at Rs.3 a kg to more than 3.4 million families living below the poverty line, Singh said an amount of Rs.771 crore (Rs.7.71 billion) was earmarked for the scheme.

The budget also includes reduction of stamp duty by two percent in case of transfer of immovable property in favour of women, rationalisation of tax structure in a variety of items of mass consumption and reduction of VAT on battery operated vehicles from 12.5 percent to four percent.

The budget has allocated 35 percent of the total expenditure for the tribal sub-plan and 12 percent for the Scheduled Caste sub-plan. The outlay of Rs.5,749 crore (Rs.57.49 billion) earmarked for the social sector is 31 percent higher than the current year and constitutes 43 percent of the total expenditure.

The plan outlay for all developmental schemes in the Maoist-affected districts has been increased substantially to fight the red menace.

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