The State budget for the coming fiscal, tabled in the Assembly on Friday, attempted to provide relief to people affected by demonetisation and also the real estate sector, which had taken a beating. State finance minister Amit Mitra peppered his sixth Budget with plenty of references to the Centre’s decision to demonetise old Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes last year. While Congress and Left Front MLAs boycotted the budget, the BJP legislators attended it.
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In its 2017-18 estimates, the state targeted revenue collection of Rs 55,786.74 crore against revised FY17 estimates of Rs 48,926.69 crore and projected growth rate at 9.27 per cent due to the demonetisation with the plan outlay for the year has been proposed at Rs 64,733 crore Providing relief to the small businesses, the threshold turnover limit has been increased to 20 lakh from Rs 10 lakh for VAT.
To boost the real estate sector, the budget proposed rationalisation of stamp duty to two per cent from the existing rate of five to seven per cent. Mitra clarified that in order to get the benefit of the reduced rate, the registration has to be done within four years from the date of agreement on payment of balance stamp duty.
The Budget also proposed 20 per cent reduction in the registration fee of property if done within a year of completion of construction. According to real estate experts, the reduction of registration fee would motivate people to invest in real estate projects post demonetisation. The state government also reduced the stamp duty on financial papers and stock exchange transactions.
Eco-friendly items like bio-diesel, bio-mass briquettes, solar water heater, plates and cups made of Sal leaf, terracotta bricks, kerosene stove, hair band and hair clip were exempted from tax net. The state government also offered an increase in the monthly honorarium of Rs 500 to ICDS and Asha workers of the state.
Criticising the budget, both Congress and Left Front claimed that the state government took measures which would help the ruling party in next year’s Panchayat election.