Odishatv Bureau


Bhubaneswar: Amidst falling revenue, the Odisha government’s focus will be on increasing revenue generation in the upcoming 2018 annual State Budget. At the pre-budget meeting of the Finance department with former finance ministers, representatives from industries, economists investors, RBI and Nabard officials, emphasis was laid on the areas through which revenue collection can be increased and to prepare the budget clubbing the plan and non-plan sectors together in line with the Union Budget format.

During the months of November and December of the current financial year, tax collection along with receipts from non-revenue sectors was considerably lower than the target.

Keeping in view lower revenue collection, experts at the meeting suggested tax increase in sectors like mining, business, land revenue and professional taxes. Moreover, suggestions were given to collect professional taxes from doctors, chartered accountants and lawyers.

“The size of the budget depends on the revenue collection. What we have observed is that revenue from own tax and non-tax sources have declined as compared to previous years,” said former Finance minister, Prafulla Ghadei.

“A lot of suggestions pertaining to increase in revenue were discussed in the meeting. For example a suggestion was given to levy professional taxes on lawyers, doctors and chartered accountants, who are currently exempted. Let’s see how far the State government accepts these suggestions,” said resident editor of The Business Standard, Dilip Satpathy.

On the other hand, the government has decided to merge plan and non-plan expenditures heads for the 2018 state budget in line with the union budget format.

According to sources, the 2018 budget size is likely to be around Rs 1 lakh crore. With the State government implementing the recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission, the exchequer will bear an additional burden of Rs 5,000 crore.

More emphasis is likely to be given to social sector, rural infrastructure, irrigation, education and health sectors.

“More focus should be given to agriculture and agri-based industries as there is need to create employment in these sectors. If employment is generated at rural level, then pressure will ease on urban areas,” said retired bureaucrat, Bibek Patnaik.

“The Union Budget is being tabled early following which the State government will place the budget. We will prepare the budget keeping in mind all the key variables including the demonetization move and GST,” said Finance minister, Pradeep Amat.