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No taxes, special stimulus in Haryana
Yoginder Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 13
Haryana Finance Minister Birender Singh announced here today a special economic stimulus package (SESP) of Rs 1,500 crore to be spent during the next two years by undertaking projects in various infrastructure sectors.

The announcement was made when he was presenting his fifth successive and last Budget of this government in the Assembly, which showed a revenue deficit of Rs 3384.06 crore and a fiscal deficit of Rs 8,557 crore. However, no fresh tax was proposed.

The deficit is likely to increase further in view of the Rs 700 crore bonanza announced by Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda in the Assembly just hours before the Budget was presented.

Ostensibly, no provision could have been made in the Budget at such short notice, though Birender Singh later said that Rs 200 crore would accrue out of inbuilt mechanisms and for Rs 500 crore, supplementary demands would be made.

The SESP would give a push to the economy and all projects under it would have overwhelming construction activity to generate employment at a relatively higher pitch while creating durable assets in infrastructure sectors simultaneously.

Instead of the normal department allocation, the minister said Rs 625 crore would be allocated to the Infrastructure Development Fund and the Haryana Rural Development Fund to take up these projects in a fast-track-mission mode. This would also minimise the risk of the resources being lost in the normal government expenditure.

The state would also take policy initiatives aimed at prompting private sector investments in areas of fast-track public infrastructure strengthening.

The debt liability of the state has gone up to about Rs 39,000 crore from Rs 29,000 crore. But Finance Secretary Ajit Mohan Sharan said after the presentation of the Budget that according to the financial parameters laid down by the Centre a state could borrow up to 28 per cent of the gross state domestic product (GSDP) while Haryana’s borrowing was still at 18 per cent of the GSDP. He said in times of recession, public spending had to be increased.

Birender Singh admitted that after October last, the state’s revenue collection, which registered a growth of 20 per cent before that, registered a sharp fall. He said the deficit was mainly on account of the implementation of the Sixth Pay Commission report.

Asserting that the deficit was within manageable limits, he said the state expected its share in central taxes and other devolutions to go up as the revised salaries and payment of arrears were sure to increase the income tax receipts. He said the tax revenue would also increase as a result of the proposed huge public spending.

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