State presents Rs 52,030.70 cr budget

Bhubaneswar: Focussing on irrigation and infrastracture, the state government today presented a revenue surplus budget of Rs 52,030.70 crore for 2012-13 while raising the lowest slab of VAT from 4 per cent to 5 per cent, making essential items like medicine, steel and foodgrains costlier.

"The total expenditure proposed in the Budget estimates for 2012-13 including debt repayment is Rs 52,030.70 crore," Finance Minister Prafulla Ghadai said presenting the annual budget in the Assembly for the ninth year in a row.

While the state`s annual plan size for 2012-13 is fixed at Rs 17,200 crore, the size of non-plan expenditure is estimated at Rs 34,350.49 crore, he said adding the year end debt stock during the year is estimated at Rs 43,054.06 crore which is 16.55 per cent of GSDP.

The total revenue expenditure is estimated at Rs 41,431.97 crore during 2012-13. Therefore, after achieving revenue balance, the minister said a surplus of Rs 2410.77 crore has been projected which is 0.93 per cent of GSDP.

"The fiscal deficit is projected at Rs 4751.93 crore which is 1.83 per cent of GSDP," Ghadai said.

Defending increase in the minimum slab of VAT, he said: "as it is linked with the grant of CST compensation by the central government, Odisha government hiked the rate of VAT from 4 per cent to 5 per cent."

Stating that most states except West Bengal and Kerala have already increased the rate of VAT, Ghadai pointed out that the state had to lose CST compensation of around Rs 260 crore towards notional gain on this account during the year 2010-11 for non-revision of the rate.

However, the finance minister claimed that it may not affect prices of many essential commodities as most of the packaged commodities and medicines are being sold on MRP.

Similarly, industrial inputs are eligible for input tax credit, he said.

The rise in the rate of VAT will lead to increase in price of steel, medicine, foodgrain and iron ore, Ghadai admitted at a media brifing after presenting the budget.

Though the state govenment is likely to get about Rs 440 crore due to rise in VAT, the finance minister said the entire amount would be spent on increasing the monthly pension amount from Rs 200 to Rs 300 for 37 lakh old, widow and differently abled persons. The new pension amount would be disbursed from April, 2012, he said.

Stating that Odisha was a state of agrarians, Ghadai said, of the total 61.65 lakh hectare cultivable land, till date only 30.15 lakh hectare is under irrigation facility.

"During the 12th plan period 2012-13, it has been proposed to create additional irrigation potential of 9.36 lakh hectare," he said.

The outlay for minor irrigation is proposed at Rs 397.64 crore and allocation for lift irrigation is Rs 312 crore including Rs 150 crore for mega lift projects, he said.

In a bid to develop road communications in the state, Ghadai proposed to invite private investors in undertaking development of state highways and major district roads through PPP mode. "We have proposed to invest at least Rs 5,000 crore in the 12th plan under PPP in the state, the minister said.

Besides budgetary allocation has been made for newly launched mother-child oriented Mamata Scheme, Biju Setu Project, emergency ambulance service, synthetic hockey turf, Rs 30 crore for infrastracture development in three state run medical colleges and the state`s second Planetarium at Sambalpur, Ghadai said.