Budget 2013-14: VAT collections up 160% in 6 yrs

JAMMU: The VAT remittance in the State has increased from Rs. 1836 crore in 2009 to estimated Rs. 4800 crore for the current fiscal with a cumulative increase of 161pc, Minister for Finance and Ladakh Affairs, Abdul Rahim Rather said today while presenting annual budget in the Legislative Assembly.

In his 115 minutes long Budget speech, Rather said that despite limited financial resources and multiple problems confronting the state, every possible effort had been made to provide succor to various sections of the society including trade, industry, tourism, farming community and other stake holders.

He said this was the second time in the legislative history of the state that six consecutive budgets were presented in a row by a government under a single leader.

The Budget shows a total expenditure of Rs. 43543 crore with a capital component of Rs. 10595 crore. The Budget shows own estimated tax revenue of Rs. 7496 crore and share of central taxes upto Rs. 5191 crore and central non-plan grant of Rs. 2096 crore. The Budget expects the revenue expenditure to touch Rs. 32948 crore.

Rather said that the next years size of annual plan would be of order of Rs. 11300 crore with a PMRP component of Rs. 600 crore.

Rather said that the Government has improved the tax and VAT remittance in the State resulting in more revenue to the Government. He said VAT remittance in the State during last five years has increased from Rs. 1836 crore to estimated Rs. 4800 crore for the current fiscal which shows a cumulative increase of 161%. He said the total revenues (Tax and Non-Tax) have increased significantly from Rs. 2683 crore in 2008-09 to Rs. 6700 crore for the current year with an annual increase of 30pc. He said the nontax revenue which stood at Rs. 837 crore during 2008-09 has increased to Rs. 2160 crore during last year.

Speaking to media later, Rather said the steep increase in tax revenue, without levying new taxes has been possible due to the better tax management and plugging of loopholes in tax collection system.

He said that tax revenue in the State has witnessed 33pc increase in the last five years. The tax revenue he said was Rs. 2600 crore in 2009 is expected to increase to Rs. 7500 crore during the next fiscal.

Briefing about the tax concessions given to various sectors, Rather said that the agriculture sector has been made more or less tax free. He said both entry tax and toll tax on fertilizers, fungicides and weedicides, which are considered important agriculture inputs, have been exempted, adding that for the first time horticulture sector especially apple, pear, cherry are being brought under the ambit of Insurance cover concession granted to Industry, trade and tourism sectors shall continue for the next fiscal, he said an amount of Rs. 3.50 cr has been earmarked for Women Development Corporation to set-up 100 more Self Help Groups (SHG) comprising 44,000 women which is expected to go a long way in upgrading the living standard of women folk. He said a provision of Rs. 3 crore has been made in the Budget for marriage of orphan girls belonging to BPL families whereas the coverage of Beti Anmol has been extended from existing 97 blocks to all blocks. The amount to be paid for getting higher education by the poor girl candidates too has been increased from Rs. 5000 to Rs. 10,000 under this scheme. He said the tourism incentive package which was expiring on 31stDecember, 2014 shall be extended upto March 2015 whereas stamp duty exemption on KCC has been increased from Rs. 1.50 lakh to Rs. 3 lakh. This concession shall also be available to the Artisan Credit Cards, he added.

Rather said the VAT remission for industry shall continue for another year whereas cashless system of VAT remission on purchase of raw material made from SICOP shall be adopted from the next year. Similarly, the Hotel tariff tax exemption shall continue up to March 2015. He said Rs. 1.40 crore has been earmarked for help to HIV/ AIDs cases and Rs. 2 crore for the Cancer Treatment Management Fund.

Replying to queries about stipendiary mode of engagement and New Pension Scheme, the Finance Minister said that these initiatives are aimed to contain burgeoning non-plan expenditure besides creating more employment avenues for the educated un-employed youth.

Rather said the performance of the State, on account of tax collection and budget management, has been lauded by at the national level by Planning Commission of India (PC), Finance Commission, Union Finance Ministry and the State’s Principal Accountant General.

“Even the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India has in unambiguous terms patted the State for its internal resources mobilization initiatives” Rather added. He said it has been the coalition government’s endeavour during last five years not to levy any tax burden on the people not withstanding economic inflation at the national level. He said that due to effective implementation of Fiscal Responsibility & Budget Management Act (FRBM), the State has been able to be within the ambit of targets assigned by the Planning Commission adding that the State was well ahead to centre in minimizing its fiscal deficit as per the assigned targets in this regard. He said economic growth rate of the State is also better as compared to National figure, adding that the Empowered Committee of the State Finance Ministers has appreciated the State for bringing improvements in Budget management and fiscal discipline.

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