Mizoram Finance Minister Lalsawta on Friday presented a deficit budget of Rs 7576.56 crores more than halfway into the current financial year, which he said was inevitable given the “discontinuation of normal plan flows [from New Delhi] … coupled with the changed sharing patterns of Centrally Sponsored Schemes”.
Lalsawta had earlier presented two vote-on-account budgets instead of a regular budget, and warned Friday the state will have to spend much more as state matching share in various central schemes implemented in the state.
The Finance Minister said the state’s own tax and non-tax revenue estimates stands at Rs 582.37 crores compared to the Rs 6596.08 crores expected as a combine of the state’s share from central taxes and grants-in-aid from the Centre.
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He stressed the “need to put in more efforts to increase the quantum of our own tax and non-tax collection” and that the government is “committed to finding all possible sources of receipts” but stopped short of announcing any major new developments in this regard.
He outlined several ongoing efforts, however, including almost Rs 36 crores revenue from the sale of alcohol (prohibition was lifted in Mizoram last year) and about Rs 7 crores from other avenues such as increased VAT on tobacco, land reforms and increased water and electricity tariffs (the opposition has trained its guns on the government over the latter, and is slated to organise public rallies next week).
From the state’s plan fund, he also allocated almost Rs 400 crores for various projects, including Rs 60 crores for the Congress government’s flagship NLUP livelihood scheme besides for road construction, rubber plantations, veterinary feed plants and training institutes, irrigation schemes, water-supply infrastructure, supply go-downs, improved power supply, to revive cooperative societies, to build parking areas within Aizawl, to restructure PSUs and for MLAs’ local area development funds.
As much as Rs 172.57 crores from this kitty are however externally aided projects including a road link near the Indo-Myanmar border and a project overhaul state capital Aizawl’s sanitation and sewerage systems, he said.
He also highlighted that the state’s liabilities as a percentage of the Gross State Domestic Product, or GSDP, has steadily reduced over the past five years from 74.23% in 2010-11 to 46.91% in 2014-15. He said this will drop further to 44.07% in the current fiscal.
Lalsawta also told the house that the government intends to consider the current financial year a “year of consolidation”.
“This implies that the government will be intent on bringing the state on a more firm financial footing by not venturing on high and new developmental agenda. Instead the effort of the government will be to concentrate more on high priority and thrust areas and at the same time to dissolve our liabilities to the extent possible with the available resources,” he said, terming it an “uphill yet noble” task.