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Zeliang presents 1,426-cr deficit budget

By The Assam Tribune

KOHIMA, July 24 - Nagaland Chief Minister TR Zeliang on Thursday presented an over Rs 1,426 crore deficit budget for the 2015-16 fiscal in the State Assembly.

Presenting the budget in the Assembly, Zeliang, who also holds the Finance portfolio, said the current year�s transactions were estimated to result in a negative balance of Rs 1,308.32 crore, but with negative opening balance of Rs 117.97 crore, the year 2015-16 was estimated to close with a negative balance of Rs 1,426.29 crore, he said.

The State Government has also revised stamp duty on land purchase and also increased floor rates of VAT on tobacco, Canteen Stores Department (CSD), petroleum products and amusement tax to be effective from August 1.

�Unlike other States, we are a resource constrained State with a limited revenue base, contributing a revenue of only eight to nine per cent of the total expenditure, while we are dependent on the Centre�s transfers and borrowings for the remaining,� he said.

Zeliang appealed to the legislators to create awareness among the people to pay taxes and charges due to the government, including electricity and water bills.

Stating that there was limited scope available to raise resources, the CM announced increase in floor rates of Value Added Tax from the existing 4.75 for basic goods and works contract to 5 per cent, and the existing rate of 13.25 per cent for general goods to 14.5 per cent in line with the rate fixed by other States in the country.

Besides, bringing uniformity of rates with other States, this measure was also expected to yield an estimated revenue of Rs 30 crore annually, Zeliang said. �We are all aware of the harmful and damaging effects of tobacco use and the government has a responsibility to discourage its use� while raising the VAT on tobacco and tobacco products from the existing 18 per cent to 25 per cent, which was expected to generate an additional revenue of Rs 3 crore annually.

He said the State presently offered a concessional rate of 4.75 per cent under VAT on sales to and by the CSD of the Armed Forces.

In line with the move to achieve uniformity on base rates with the rest of the country, he announced an increase in the rates from 4.75 per cent to 5 cent, which would help to raise additional revenue of Rs 50 lakh annually.

As part of the government efforts to align its tax rates on petroleum products with the rest of the country, Zeliang said the base tax rate has been raised from 4.75 per cent to 5 per cent, which would generate an additional revenue of Rs 1 crore annually. � PTI

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