SHILLONG, March 14 - Prices of liquor, cigarettes, high speed diesel, other combustion oil, limestone and petrol would become dearer, after Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma today proposed to raise taxes in the budget for 2016-17 on these items.
Presenting a deficit budget of Rs 1,090 crore, which is around 3.6 per cent of the Gross State Domestic Product, Sangma, proposed to enhance the rate of VAT on liquor from 20 per cent to 30 per cent and also increase levy on import and transport pass fee on alcohol, beer and wine.
Proposal to withdraw the rebate of 56 paise per litre and to increase the VAT on petrol from 20 to 22 per cent was also incorporated in the budget.
The rate of cess on limestone has also been proposed to be enhanced from Rs 40 to Rs 60 per metric tonne. With increase in the rate of taxes under Meghalaya Value-Added Tax Act, it is estimated the State would be able to garner Rs 18 crore this fiscal.
Sangma said: �The challenges faced by the State are the revenue shortfall, due to the rippling effect of the restrictions imposed on mining of minerals and reduced transfer (from Rs 4,291 crore to Rs 3,668.82 crore) than what was projected in the share of Central taxes.�
He further informed that the State�s expenditure has increased owing to raising the Special Force-10 commando unit, and creating infrastructure facilities in the four new districts of the State.
Sangma said the taxes were being enhanced on certain items �in order to meet the challenges occasioned by the shrinking resource base on account of the NGT ban on coal mining and to generate additional resources.�
The revenue receipts are estimated at Rs 8,981 crore and capital receipt at Rs 1,192 crore. It is estimated that the State�s total receipt during 2016-17 would be Rs 9,013 crore, excluding borrowings and other liabilities.
For the current fiscal, the revenue expenditure is estimated at Rs 8,594 crore and capital expenditure at Rs 1,913 crore. The estimated total expenditure during this period would be Rs 10,103 crore, excluding payment of loans, thus leaving a deficit.
Meanwhile, Sangma has earmarked the lion�s share of the budget allocation to the Community and Rural Development department with an allocation of Rs 811.85 crore.
Under the Community and Rural Development is the State�s flagship programme, the Integrated Basin Development and Livelihood Programme � a pet project of the Chief Minster.
The CM proposed to increase the allocation of Rs 1 crore per Assembly constituency to Rs 2 crore from the next financial year under the Special Rural and Urban Works Programme.
Development of the Education sector has been given importance with the CM earmarking an allocation of Rs 677 crore for 2016-17. The Government has also prioritised the Health sector with a budgetary allocation of Rs 470 crore.
Sangma said that the Government is establishing a medical college in PPP mode at the site of Reid Chest Hospital in Shillong and a Government Medical College at Tura.
Road and bridge sector was earmarked Rs 471.80 crore, while Rs 279.15 crore was allocated for agriculture and horticulture. He also proposed a budgetary provision of Rs 158.70 crore to Power department.
The other major proposals in the budget included Rs 274 crore to Social Welfare, Rs 253 crore to Water Supply and Sanitation, Rs 107.30 Urban Development, Rs 85 crore Food Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs, District Council Affairs Rs 100 crore, Judiciary Rs 14 crore and Rs 34.35 crore to Transport.