SHILLONG, May 19 - The three-day reassembled Budget Session of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly will begin from tomorrow and is expected to focus on the Government�s effort to fight against COVID-19 and give a stimulus to the economy.
The State Government is slated to pass the budget estimates for 2020-21 during this session. The budget estimates will have to be readjusted, keeping in mind the prevailing economic scenario.
Although the Meghalaya Government has said that it has not yet calculated the loss to the State economy due to the ongoing lockdown, Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong said that revenue generation in the State has �come down to almost zero�.
The only succour for the State is from the liquor shops which have been doing brisk business since the past couple of weeks, which is likely to positively impact revenue collection.
The State Government recently increased liquor prices by 25 per cent over the maximum retail price. It is expected that the move would generate an additional revenue to the tune of Rs 120 to Rs 130 crore.
In the last fiscal, revenue generated by the Excise Department was Rs 260 crore, apart from the VAT on liquor.
The other source of revenue collection is mining, but due to the ban on coal mining and transportation, the option is closed at the present juncture. The State Government recently allowed mining operations to continue for other minerals.
Although the Opposition Congress has been lending its support to the Government in its fight against COVID-19, it is expected to raise issues like coal import from Assam and subsequent opposition by coal miners from the Jaintia Hills.
The Congress is also likely to raise the issue of price hike of essential commodities by profiteers. The party has been vocal on strict implementation of quarantine measures in the State.
Several people were found to have flouted the quarantine rules. This issue and others on the health front are likely to be raised by the Opposition.
The private members� business has been scheduled on May 22. The Government�s businesses will be conducted on May 20 and 21. The budget estimates will be passed on May 21.