Punjab Budget: After missing revenue receipts target, Manpreet Badal lowers the bar for next fiscalhttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/chandigarh/punjab-budget-after-missing-revenue-receipts-target-manpreet-badal-lowers-the-bar-for-next-fiscal-5590382/

Punjab Budget: After missing revenue receipts target, Manpreet Badal lowers the bar for next fiscal

State received only Rs 13,936 cr as GST against estimated Rs 21,440 cr; its own tax revenue stood lower than expected

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Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal outside the Punjab Vidhan Sabha before presenting the Budget, in Chandigarh, Monday. (Kamleshwar Singh)

With debt servicing, salary and pensions and power subsidy remaining a major drain on state exchequer, for the next fiscal, Punjab government missed the target of revenue receipts in the current fiscal.

With not much of emphasis to mop up resources, especially in the election year, the state has ended decreasing the target of various receipts.

With a debt of Rs 2.29 lakh crore, the state would end up paying Rs 30309 crore on debt servicing in the next fiscal. The salary and pensions component would be a major drain with a fat bill of Rs 26,978 crore and Rs 10,875 crore, respectively. Similarly, it would have to shell out Rs 12,397 crore as power subsidy to farmers as well as industrialists. The amount also has an unpaid power subsidy bill of Rs 3,000 crore that the government was not able to pay due to fund crunch.

As it is going ahead with a cut in fuel prices, it would be a further drain of Rs 900 crore on the resources. In the current fiscal, it had fixed an estimates receipts of Rs 41,064 crore from state’s own tax revenue including GST, VAT , state excise, stamps and registration, taxes on vehicles, electricity duty and others, but it could make only Rs 32,741 crore – a shortfall of Rs 8323 crore. The government has now set a target of Rs 37,674 crore.

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But as per revised estimates, the state missed the target in all sectors, except in electricity duty and taxes on vehicles. It received only Rs 13,936 crore as GST against an expected receipt of Rs 21,440 crore. From VAT, it received Rs 6,233 crore against a target of Rs 6,333 crore.

From state excise, the receipts are Rs 5462 crore against a target of Rs 6,000 crore. From stamps and registration, it could make only Rs 2,300 crore against a target of Rs 2,500 crore.

From state’s own tax revenue, it could generate only Rs 9,929 crore against a target of 10,248 crore. The target for the next fiscal has hence been made smaller at Rs 9476 crore.

A Finance official said that since they were not able to meet with the targets, they have now revised their targets.

Finance Minister Manpreet Badal said that they were not happy with the GST, as it was not able to provide required buoyancy to the revenue. He added that they were coming out with a new excise policy that would help mopping up resources.

Sand mining fiasco

The sand mining sector turned out to be a fiasco for the Congress government as against a target of Rs 400 crore in the current fiscal, the government has a revenue of Rs 32 crore. The target for next fiscal is Rs 300 crore. The Congress government had hit out at previous Akali government for not generating revenue from mining. The government had promised to help fill the coffers from mining. But it was not able to auction a single quarry in the current fiscal. Its policy is now stayed by the High Court. Sources in the finace department said if the stay was not vacated by the HC till July, the state would not be able to auction any quarries this year too.

Professional tax

The development tax, levied by the state government in the current fiscal, could earn it Rs 50 crore against a target of Rs 150 crore. The government ended up facing a lot of opposition for levying a tax of Rs 2,400 annually on Income Tax payees of Punjab. Finance Minister Manpreet Badal said on Monday that the aim behind levying the tax was to get loan from Asian Development Bank, that made it mandatory for the state to levy a professional tax.

Smartphones

The government has set aside Rs 50 crore for smartphones. Badal said they have floated the global tenders for the same and would soon be giving away phones to youths.

Old age pension

In its third budget, the Congress government has not been able to increase the social security pension to Rs 2,000, a pre-poll promise of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh. Two years ago, it had enhanced it to Rs 750 from Rs 500.