With the Assembly elections in focus later this year,the Narendra Modi government today proposed a populist budget of Rs 1,01,712 crore for the state and announced a Rs 410 crore relief in taxes.
The tax relief announced include VAT reduction and exemptions to the tune of Rs 200 crore.
Electricity duty reduction by 25 per cent for residences and educational institutes has been proposed,providing a tax relief of another Rs 200 crore.
Despite a relief in VAT,the budget proposes to generate a surplus of Rs 317.22 crore,Finance Minister Vajubhai Vala said presenting his 18th budget in the state assembly which is a record for any Finance Minister of Gujarat.
“Ours is a people oriented budget which is aimed at development of all in the state,” Vala said after proposing the budget which focuses on farmers,tribals,social services,
infrastructure and urban poor.
He said that the programmes for tribals,urban poor and fishermen have yielded good results in the past five years,and hence the allocation for these programmes in the next five years has been doubled.
Vala also announced a new health cover ‘Amrutum’,under which each below poverty line (BPL) family would be provided financial assistance for medical treatment of diseases like cancer,renal dysfunction,neurological problems,burns and
others up to Rs two lakh. For this scheme allocation of Rs 200 crore has been made for 2012-13.
In order to promote the self help groups (SHG),the government has proposed a stamp duty exemption for loans up to Rs two lakh,providing a tax relief of another Rs 10 crore. Vala said the government has increased its planned expenditure by 33 per cent to Rs 50,599 crore against plan size of Rs 38,000 crore in 2011-12.