No new taxes in Meghalaya budget

Shillong, March 22 (IANS) Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma Friday presented a deficit budget for 2013-14 while levying no fresh taxes but increasing royalty on coal.

Presenting the budget estimates with a total outlay of Rs.9,119 crore, Sangma, who holds the finance portfolio, estimated the total expenditure at Rs.9,289 crore, an increase of 22.2 percent over last year, of which revenue expenditure comprises Rs.7,333 crore and capital expenditure Rs.1,956 crore.
The total non-plan expenditure has been pegged at Rs.3,482 crore, an increase of 9.1 percent.
The chief minister said the state has decided to propose a tentative plan of Rs.4,141 crore for 2013-14 to the Planning Commission.
Stating that budget aims at bringing about inclusive growth and sustainable development, Sangma said the public delivery mechanism will be strengthened by appropriate legislation and supporting administrative measures.
He also proposed to focus on agriculture and allied sectors, tourism, energy, roads and promote investment with a thrust on eco-friendly industries.
The Integrated Basin Development and Livelihood Promotion Programme would also provide livelihood security to more than four lakh families in the next five years, he said.
Proposing to widen and upgrade all major district roads, state highways and strategic roads, Sangma said the government will mobilize state and central funds as well as multilateral funds to ensure growth in this sector.
With the first railway link in Meghalaya expected to be completed soon, he said the government proposed to further strengthen the network in the next five years, to provide better connectivity for convenient travel and enhanced trade and commerce.
The chief minister also promised to complete the expansion and operationalisation of Umroi and Baljek airports.
Sangma also informed that the government would submit its memorandum to the 14th Finance Commission chairman Y.V. Reddy highlighting the state’s requirements for the period of five years from April 1, 2015, to March 31, 2020.
Further, the chief minister also disclosed that the government has obtained necessary clearances from the concerned central ministries for the proposed $100 million “Supporting Human Capital Development in Meghalaya’s Project” with Asian Development Bank.
The $100 million project, he said was to reinforce Meghalaya’s effort towards further developing its human capital by expanding the coverage and improving the quality of education, while also promoting skill development and vocational training especially for women.