M A I N   N E W S

No fresh taxes in Haryana Budget
Rs 1250 cr subsidy for power to farm sector
Yoginder Gupta
Tribune News Service

Tosham MLA Ms Kiran Chaudhry being congratulated by Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda after she was sworn in in the Haryana Vidhan Sabha, Chandigarh, on Thursday.
Tosham MLA Ms Kiran Chaudhry being congratulated by Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda after she was sworn in in the Haryana Vidhan Sabha, Chandigarh, on Thursday. Savitri Jindal, MLA from Hisar, is also seen. — Tribune photo by Manoj Mahajan

Chandigarh, June 9
Continuing the tradition set by his predecessors, the Haryana Finance Minister, Mr Birender Singh, today presented a “tax-free” Budget for 2005-06, which left a deficit of Rs 51.67 crore uncovered. He said the year would open with a deficit of Rs 242.36 crore which would increase to Rs 294.03 crore.

Mr Birender Singh claimed that the Budget deficit was within manageable limits and the measures proposed by him for financial discipline were likely to contain the deficit.

The previous financial year had opened with a deficit of Rs 215.97 crore, which increased by Rs 26.39 crore as the year came to a close with a net deficit of Rs 242.36 crore.

He has made a provision of about Rs 1,250 crore as subsidy to the power utilities on account of power supply to the agricultural sector against about Rs 1,000 crore last year. The Financial Commissioner and Secretary, Finance, Mr Bhaskar Chatterjee, later told newsmen that because of the change in the slab system of billing tubewells, the subsidy had increased by about Rs 250 crore. Another about Rs 450 crore would be given to the power utilities as equity in the new generation plants.

Mr Birender Singh regretted that the 12th Finance Commission had made little efforts to reward the fiscally better states like Haryana by way of readjustments of weightage of parameters like population, income and tax mobilisation efforts. He said the share of Haryana in Central taxes had increased only marginally to 1.075 per cent from 0.944 per cent. He regretted that the state had been denied the deficit grant and the upgradation grants for education and health recommended by the commission for other states.

He said to bring about transparency, accountability and stability in the fiscal operations of the state, he would introduce a fiscal responsibility and Budget management Bill during the current session of the Assembly. This would act as a guide to policy makers in the pursuit of a prudent fiscal policy, besides committing the state government in future to a deficit and debt-reduction path. This would also provide immense relief to the state by way of reduced rate of interest on outstanding debt due to the rescheduling of Central loans.

He said the main agenda of the Hooda government would be to broaden its revenue base, contain expenditure on establishment and limit borrowings only to finance capital expenditure and investment in the priority areas. Already, “performance audit” had been introduced. An external agency would be appointed to quantify the performance of the engineering departments.

Emphasising that the SYL canal was the central concern of Haryana’s irrigation policy, Mr Birender Singh said the Hooda government condemned the Punjab Termination of Agreements Act, 2004, and “firmly believes that it cannot stand in the way of our rightful share in river waters and their delivery to Haryana.” He said already steps had been taken to provide additional water to deficit areas in the southern and south-western parts of the state.

Among other schemes announced by Mr Birender Singh were the opening of a model school in every district, the setting up of the Overseas Employment Bureau and the rationalisation of the eligibility parameters for the unemployment allowance and an increase in it.


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