Conrad Sangma present Rs 1, 150 cr deficit budget 

SHILLONG, Mar 23: Meghalaya Chief Minister, Conrad Kongkal Sangma on Friday presented an Rs 1,150 crore deficit budget for the year 2018-19.

According to the Chief Minister, the fiscal deficit budget of Rs 1,150 crore is around 3.32 percent of the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP).

Presenting the first budget of the ruling National People’s Party (NPP) led-Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA), Conrad said that the state’s total receipts for 2018-19 will improve over 2017-18 on account of the comparatively higher share of central taxes, earmarked at Rs 5059.77 crore for the year 2018-19.

The Chief Minister however said that the spoil over impact of the National Green Tribunal ban on coal mining on the economy of the state is still restricting the state from realising its full revenue potential.

Conrad estimated the total receipts at Rs 14, 104 crore, of which the revenue receipts are estimated at Rs 12, 531 crore and capital receipts at Rs 1, 573 crore.

The Chief Minister said that excluding borrowings, the total receipts are estimated to be Rs 12, 554 crore.

On the expenditure side, he estimated the total expenditure at Rs 14, 101 crore during 2018-19, of which expenditure is estimated at Rs 12, 036 crore and capital expenditure at Rs 2, 065 crore.

Conrad said that excluding repayment of loans, the estimated total expenditure is Rs 13, 704 crore.

He also said that the interest payment during 2018-19 is estimated at Rs 653 crore and pension payment at Rs 784 crore.

According to the Chief Minister in 2017-18 the state’s own tax revenue was Rs 1559 crore and state’s own non-tax revenue was Rs 513 crore.

“For 2018-19, the state’s own tax revenue is estimated at Rs 1716 crore, and state’s own non-tax revenue at Rs 538 crore,” Conrad said.

On the state’s economy, Conrad said that the year 2016-17, the GSDP at current market price was Rs 28, 445 crore, as per the quick estimates, which shows an increase of 9.5 percent over the previous year.

“The advance estimates indicate that the GSDP for 2017-18 is Rs 31, 290 crore, an increase of 10 percent over 2016-17,” the Chief Minister said.

Conrad also said that the growth of the tertiary sector is registered at 7.24 percent, the secondary sector at 16.59 percent and the primary sector at 2.71 percent during the year 2015-16 to 2016-17.

He also said that the per capita income of the state at current price for the year 2017-18 stands at Rs 89, 432 as per the advance estimates, as against Rs 85, 141 in the year 2016-17, showing an increase of about 5.04 percent.

The Chief Minister also said that as per the Goods and Services Tax (Compensation to States) Act, 2017, any revenue loss on account of the growth rate in subsumed tax collection which is less than 14 percent (using 2015-16 as the benchmark year) would be compensated.

“This coupled with the recent relaxation of the recommendations of the Committee on Road Safety on the sale of liquor has slightly improved the state’s own revenue collection during 2017-18,” Conrad said.

He also said that the state’s total expenditure from its own resources is anticipated to increase substantially during 2017-18 and also in the coming years.

The Chief Minister said that this is due to the commitment of the state government to support the improvement of judicial infrastructure in the state from its own resources as per the recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission, the creation of a substantial number of posts required to improve the state’s delivery system and, implementation of the Fifth Pay Commission recommendations.

“On account of the fiscal scenario and to ensure that the state is able to meet its committed and unavoidable expenditures as well as ensuring there is enough funds for developmental works, government is committed to strictly implement and reinforce the fiscal austerity measures and avoid all wasteful expenditures,” Conrad said.

The Chief Minister also said that the government is taking measures to strengthen the enforcement machinery to realise higher revenue under GST, grant mining leases for minor minerals under the Meghalaya Minor Minerals Concession Rules, 2016 to generate more revenue from royalty on minor minerals.

With the discontinuation of the Special Plan Assistance, Central Plan Assistance and other Centrally Sponsored Schemes by the Centre, Conrad assured that the state government will ensure that all available financial assistance will be taken advantage of.

“Centrally Sponsored Schemes, Central Sector Schemes, Grants Under Article 275 (1), Externally Aided Projects and the assistance available from NEC and Ministry of DoNER will be fully tapped,” Conrad said.

The allocation for Community and Rural Development is the highest with an outlay of Rs 1457.94 crore followed by Education (Rs 969.64 crore), roads and bridges (Rs 628.04 crore), health and family welfare (Rs 613.31 crore), social welfare (Rs 537.72 crore) and power (Rs 446.62 crore).