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Maharashtra Budget 2019-20: Debt mounting, govt looks at land assets to shore up revenue

For 2019-20, the government has proposed to raise Rs 3,520 crore by tapping into the land bank.

| Mumbai | Updated: June 19, 2019 8:01:22 am
Maharashtra Budget 2019-20: Debt mounting, govt looks at land assets to shore up revenue CM Fadnavis interacts with the media in Mumbai on Friday. (Express photo: Ganesh Shirsekar)

With debt mounting on the state exchequer, the BJP-led government in Maharashtra has decided to leverage the government’s land assets to shore up revenues for funding the new Budget proposals.

For 2019-20, the government has proposed to raise Rs 3,520 crore by tapping into the land bank. “After the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), there are limitations on increasing the tax revenue. The emphasis (this year) will be on enhancing the non-tax revenue,” states the government’s tax policy statement for the current year.

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Monetisation and utilisation of the land bank will be a key element under the new policy, said a senior Finance department official. In the build-up to the Lok Sabha elections, the state government had rolled out a policy permitting conversion of lease grants into freehold tenures. “A good response is expected to the policy which may generate a growth in revenues,” the policy statement states further.

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In 2018-19, the government had raised Rs 1,500 crore through land revenue. It is also expecting to mop up additional revenue through sale of additional space for construction projects.

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Incidentally, while the Budget did not announce new tax levies, the Finance department is proposing a “revision of various taxes under the motor vehicles department, excise duty, stamp duty and registration charges, as well as fees/fines related to all departments.”

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In the case of tax revenue, the emphasis will be on mobilising resources through recovery of tax arrears. Mungantiwar on Tuesday extended the deadline of an ongoing amnesty scheme for traders who have defaulted on sales tax payments by a couple of months. Official statistics shows the Sales Tax department has failed to realise Rs 65,396 crore in tax arrears. “We have so far realised Rs 750 crore through the amnesty. We are expecting many more traders to avail the scheme in the coming days,” Mungantiwar said.

Meanwhile, reaching out to the trader community, the government Tuesday announced simplification of the tax filing process for professional tax collections.

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