Wednesday, March 15, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

No new taxes in Haryana Budget
Move to downsize govt
By Shubhadeep Choudhury
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, March 14 — The Budget estimate for 2000-2001, presented in the Haryana Assembly today, put deficit in the year to Rs 97.79 crore. In his Budget speech Finance Minister Sampat Singh said the coming year was likely to open with a deficit of Rs 196.77 crore and close with a deficit of Rs 294.56 crore, indicating deficit of Rs 97.79 crore in the year.

However, in keeping up with populist policies, the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) government did not propose any fresh tax to cover the deficit. The Finance Minister’s speech said phasing out the sales tax-based incentives for industries and introduction of the uniform Sales Tax rates were some of the steps initiated by the government to improve state’s financial health.

“The sales tax receipts are likely to go up on account of introduction of uniforms sales tax and buoyancy on account of available indicators of the revival of recessionary trends in economy. With the introduction of uniform sales tax, it is expected to net additional revenue of Rs 75 crore”, Mr Sampat Singh said in his speech. The Finance Minister also added that the Central Government already had decided to increase the share of states in Central taxes which would put more resources at the disposal of the states. Downsizing the government by abolishing of vacant posts, ban on fresh recruitment, mobilising additional revenues through better tax collection are some of the other steps being taken for better fiscal management, the Budget speech said.

Mr Sampat Singh said the Annual Plan (2000-2001) had been fixed at Rs 2,530 crore, showing a growth of 39.7 per cent over the revised outlay of Rs 1811.16 crore for the current year (1999-2000). He said the original Plan outlay of Rs 2,300 crore for the current year was revised to Rs 1811.16 crore due to paying arrears to the canegrowers (Rs 55 crore), enhanced rates of pension (Rs 325.63 crore), compensation to urban local bodies following the abolition of octroi (23.84 crore) and for meeting pay-revision liability of the employees of aided educational institutions (Rs 50.58 crore). The outlay of Rs 2,530 crore for the coming financial year is “likely” to be funded through state’s own resources of Rs 1506.48 crore and Central assistance of Rs 1,023 crore, the Finance Minister told the Assembly.

The Finance Minister also stated that the total outstanding debt of the state was Rs 9,913.07 crore as on March 31, 1999. This was likely to increase by 22.2 per cent to Rs 12110.80 crore on March 31, 2000 and further by 19 per cent to Rs 14418.37 crore by March 31, 2001, he said. He, however, added that once the economy grew, investments made would start paying dividends and the state would not have to depend on borrowed funds any more.

Giving details of the allocations under various heads, the Finance Minister said support for power sector had been increased from revised outlay of Rs 928.58 crore in 1999-2000 to Rs 1070.13 crore in 2000-2001. A total provision of Rs 775.17 crore had been made under various Plan and Non-Plan schemes for Irrigation for the year 2000-2001. A provision of Rs 67.60 crore had been made for both Plan and Non-Plan expenditure for the MITC (Minor Irrigation Tubewell Corporation).

A provision of Rs 582.11 crore has been made for strengthening/reconstruction and repair/maintenance of roads during 2000-2001. A total budgetary provision amounting Rs 41.73 crore under various Plan and Non-Plan schemes has been proposed for the year 2000-2001 for buildings. A total budgetary provision of Rs 415.64 crore has been made under various Plan and Non-Plan schemes of the Public Health Department for the next financial year. The total Plan and Non-Plan outlay for agriculture sector (including HAU, Animal Husbandry, Fisheries, Dairy Development and Horticulture) for the year 2000-2001 is Rs 308.83 crore.

For Forestry and Soil Conservation Programme, a Plan outlay of Rs 3320 lakh has been fixed, while the total allocation for cooperative sector has been fixed at Rs 28.82 crore. For Health, the allocation is Rs 363.21 crore, for Education, the outlay is Rs 1352.99 crore under both Plan and Non-Plan schemes. For social welfare, the outlay is Rs 465.50 crore, while Rs 73.61 crore has been provided for various programmes of rural development, poverty alleviation and community development during 2000-2001.

For municipal administration and urban development, the proposed amount is Rs 32.81 crore, for transport sector, Rs 40 crore, Rs 5.10 crore for promotion of tourism. The Finance Minister also stated in his speech that the state government had decided to grant an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh each to the families of the police officials who would die while on duty. The government has also decided to grant pension to pre-1986 and pre-1996 retirees on the pattern of the Fifth Pay Commission.

Later, talking to reporters, Mr Sampat Singh said the Budget had laid special emphasis on infrastructure and rural development, 64.5 per cent of the total budgetary amount is being spent on infrastructure development, he said. He also said he would expect that the central government would give at least 33.3 per cent to the state governments as the latters’ share in central taxes. Mr Sampat Singh also defended the alarming public debt of Haryana saying even in a progressive state like Andhra Pradesh, the debt liability, as a proportion of the GSDP (Gross State Domestic Product), is 36 per cent, while in Haryana’s case it was only 25 per cent.

The Opposition, however, described the Budget as “directionless”. Talking to The Tribune, Mr Bhajan Lal, leader of the Congress Legislature Party, said no new scheme for the development of the State had been figured in the Budget. “There is nothing regarding the welfare of SCs/BCs, employment generation and other important issues”, he said. The HPCC chief, Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda, said that the Budget was simply a jugglery of statistics. He added that without imposing fresh taxes also the government could have enhanced its revenue collection. “The Budget is full of conjectures”, he said and added that nothing had been suggested for supporting the farm sector despite imminent hike in fertiliser prices.

The debate on the Budget proposal will start tomorrow, while voting on Budget was also scheduled to take place on Wednesday.

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