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State’s growth rate higher than national average: Himanta

By The Assam Tribune

Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, Feb 12: The economic scenario of Assam is stable and the government has engaged in prudent and sound fiscal management, which has resulted in keeping in check the fiscal and revenue deficits during the last five years, Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Friday.

Presenting the vote on account 2021-22 in the Assam Legislative Assembly, Sarma said the State has seen a steady rate of growth, which has been higher than the national average.

“Our Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) rose from Rs 2,02,080.85 crore to Rs 2,48,796.15 crore between 2016-17 to 2019-20 at constant prices. This annual growth rate stood at 7.71 per cent against the national annual growth rate of 6.11 per cent,” he said.

“At current prices, the GSDP rose from Rs 2,54,382.36 crore in 2016-17 to Rs 3,51,317.77 crore in 2019-20 at an annual growth rate of 12.7 per cent against an all India growth rate of 10.72 per cent. During the same period, the per capita income of Assam rose from Rs 66,330 in 2016-17 to Rs 90,692 in 2019-20,” Sarma said.

He said the State government has tapped into a larger pool of resources from the Centre by the way of increased funding under Centrally sponsored schemes and externally aided projects grants (EAPs).

“We received Rs 10,444.07 crore on account of Centrally sponsored schemes in 2016-17, which has gone up to Rs 16,101.54 crore in 2019-20. This has helped us majorly in increasing our pool of expendable resources. During the same period, our receipts on account of EAP grants have gone up from Rs 516.21 crore in 2016-17 to Rs 1,606.08 crore in 2019-20,” he said.

Sarma said Assam has played a key role as a member of the GST Council and received a favourable compensation package from the Central GST portion at an annualized growth rate of 14 per cent. “The major revenue earning departments have consistently yielded positive results, with the State’s own revenues now making up about 26 per cent of the total revenue receipts. During 2019-20, the State’s own tax revenue generation stood at Rs 16,529 crore. Our tax revenues have seen a steady increase from Rs 12,079.56 crore in the year 2016-17 to Rs 16,528.69 crore in the year 2019-20, at an 8.16 per cent compounded annual growth rate.”

Non-tax revenue income has also seen an increase, mainly on account of the receipt of arrears due as royalties, on various accounts from the Government of India. “Our government has relentlessly pursued the matter of royalties owed to our State from oil companies, and thus far, we have been able to obtain about Rs 7,756 crore as oil royalty arrears between the years 2016-17 to 2019-20,” Sarma said.

“Side by side with stringent fiscal management, our government has managed to give an enhanced budgetary outlay year on year; from Rs 83,017 crore in the year 2016-17, to Rs 99,453 crore in the year 2017-18, Rs 1,08,490 crore in the year 2018-19, Rs 1,19,720 crore in the year 2019-20, and Rs 1,22,341 crore in the year 2020-21. This has meant a 47.37 per cent increase in the budgetary outlay over the five years of our government,” he said.

He said the government has also ensured higher utilization of funds. “In 2019-20, we were able to achieve a budget utilization of about 68 per cent, which is a significant improvement over earlier years. This means that the actual expenditure made has grown almost two-fold, from Rs 41,931.32 crore in the year 2015-16 to Rs 81,088 crore in the year 2019-20. Our capital expenditure has undergone an increase from Rs 6,001 crore in 2016-17 to Rs 13,501 crore in 2019-20, a doubling of spend in the last five years.”

He added, “The government has focused on the effective utilization of Government e-Market place (GeM) portal to facilitate and support procurement requirements of various Departments. As of today, the active number of buyers stands at 131 and the active number of sellers stands at 12,791. With a total transaction volume of 1,926, the current value of total procurements done through GeM for Assam stands at Rs 400.64 crore. The World Bank has chosen our State as one of the only five government entities in the world for their programme in handholding for replication of best practices in public procurement from South Korea.”

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