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Odishatv Bureau

Bhubaneswar: In a major relief to customers groaning under the skyrocketing prices of pulses, the Odisha Cabinet on Tuesday approved a proposal to reduce Value Added Tax (VAT) on pulses from the existing 5% to 1%. To be effective from July 1, The VAT reduction, however, will be effective for a period of three months beginning July 1 on an experimental basis.

Official sources said if the collection of tax during this three-month period is more than what is being realised now, the VAT relaxation will be extended to other edible items like wheat and wheat products, oil and sugar.

As per an unofficial estimate, the State government should get nearly VAT worth Rs 340 crore from pulses and other edible items while actual collection is less than Rs 40 crore. About 90 per cent of the State’s dal and wheat requirement is imported from outside. Domestic production of pulses is only around 50,000 tonnes against a requirement of 8.05 lakh tonnes.

The Cabinet also decided to set up Odisha Model Schools in all 314 Blocks of the State on which the state government will spend Rs 2600 crore in five years. Sources said the State government has made 100 model schools functional in the 2016 academic year and plans to set up another 100 schools in 2017-18 and 114 more in 2018-19 to ensure availability of model schools in each and every block of the State.

In a bid to fill up vacancies at the Veer Surendra Sai Institute of Medical Science and Research (VIMSAR), the State Cabinet gave its approval to amendment of the existing Act of the institute. Officials attending the meeting said an ordinance will be promulgated in this regard following which the vacancies at the institute will be filled up.

The State Cabinet has also approved 500 new posts in the Health department.

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