Will Amat’s 2017-18 budget be populist?

Bhubaneswar: Given the fact that the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) has showed a relatively poor performance in the recently concluded panchayat polls in comparison with its 2012 tally, in a bid to retain the party’s image at grassroots level, Finance minister Pradip Amat in all likelihood will present a people-friendly budget on 27 February.

Though it is not known what budget provisions Amat is making this time to draw attention of rural voters, it is understood that more pro-people schemes will be launched, besides retaining the ‘popular’ ongoing ones. But, budget analysts feel, what could be challenging for the party is the means of revenue collection as post demonitisation, tax and non-tax revenue generation has failed to achieve the target.

“Since the size of the State budget depends on the revenue collection, is it believed that 2017-18 State annual budget will focus on revenue generation. It is also expected that tax will be increased in sectors like mining, business, stamp duty and land revenue,” said chartered accountant Rajiv Sahu.

“Tax collection, along with receipts from non-revenue sectors, was lower than the target in the last financial year. So we believe that the government will take a calculative step to make the budget pro-people,” Sahu added.

On Wednesday the draft annual budget for 2017-18 was approved at the meeting of the council of ministers presided over by chief minister Naveen Patnaik. As compared to its annual budget of Rs 94,000 crore in 2016-17, the budget for 2017-18 has been pegged at Rs 1.06 crore. Budget has been prepared in line with the central budget by merging the plan and non-plan components.

Few days ago Amat had said budget will be prepared keeping in view the demonetisation move and Goods and Services Tax (GST).

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