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New Govt liabilities over Rs 10,000: Himanta

By Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, July 7 - State Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma today said that the committed liability that the new Government inherited from the previous Congress Government would be much more than Rs 10,000 crore.

Sarma told newsmen today that more and more new sides of liabilities are coming to the fore almost every passing day and that the White Paper it had submitted on State finances would be amended and placed in the ensuing Budget session of the State Assembly as the size of the total outstanding liabilities is expected rise to at least Rs 12,000 crore.

The Minister said that the previous Government in the last financial year made payment of only 25 to 30 per cent dues it had committed to, which is adding to the size of the outstanding liabilities.

�We are facing a financial crisis and it will not be easy to come out of the situation,� Sarma said, adding that Union Finance Minister will discuss the issues with the officials of the State Finance and Planning Department tomorrow at 5.15 pm.

The Minister, reacting to the increase in VAT from 5 per cent to 6 per cent, said that the State has adopted a dynamic taxation policy and no additional burden will be imposed on the common man, at least on essential commodities.

He assured that the State will go for tax reduction on a number of essential items in the ensuing Budget session.

�After 31st March, 2016, we will reconsider our decision of hiking the VAT on 132 items, and wherever necessary, we will withdraw it,� the Minister added.

Sarma said that a task force, comprising respective Deputy Commissioner, Tax Superintendent and Deputy Superintendent of the Food and Civil Supply Department, will monitor the price index and ensure that the unscrupulous businessmen do not take advantage of the situation.

Countering former Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi�s allegation, Sarma said, �It was during Gogoi�s tenure that tax rate went from 12 per cent to 15 per cent in a single year.�

Replying to a question, Sarma informed that new avenues of revenue generation are being explored and amending the existing Excise Rules is one such step towards that.

Regarding oil royalty, he said that the State and the Centre is filing a compromise petition before the Supreme Court and if everything goes right, the State should get its dues within 60 days.

He reaffirmed that the State Government employees would get salaries at par with the recommendation of the Seventh Pay Commission from April next year which would cost nearly Rs 4,500 crore to the State exchequer.

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