Guwahati, Wednesday, March 13, 2019
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Deficit budget tabled in Meghalaya Assembly
STAFF CORRESPONDENT
 SHILLONG, March 12 - Chief Minister Conrad Sangma, who also holds the Finance portfolio, presented a deficit budget of Rs 1,323 crore in the Assembly today for the fiscal year 2019-20, which is about 3.65 per cent of the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP).

According to the budget estimates for 2019-20, excluding borrowings, the total receipt stood at Rs 14,463 crore. The total expenditure, excluding repayment of loans, is estimated at Rs 15,786 crore, leaving a deficit of Rs 1,323 crore.

According to Sangma, revenue collection in the State is expected to increase during 2019-20. It is estimated that sums of Rs 2,090 crore and Rs 601 crore would be generated as tax and non-tax revenue respectively.

The revenue collected by the taxation department is expected to touch Rs 1,478 crore by the end of this year, registering a growth of 15 per cent. The overall tax revenue, including Goods and Services Tax (GST), Excise and Motor Vehicle Taxes, is estimated at Rs 1,716 crore, the Chief Minister informed the House.

Sangma said that for the year 2017-18, the GSDP at the current market price was Rs 29,864, which shows an increase of 10.33 per cent over the previous year. The advance estimates indicate that the GSDP for 2018-19 is Rs 32,972 crore, which is an increase of 10.41 per cent over 2017-18.

Attributing the highest priority towards development of the health and education sectors, Sangma said that the Government has increased the budget allocation of the education sector by 17 per cent and that of the health department by 21 per cent over the previous year.

The Chief Minister said 11 Ekalavya Model Residential Schools would be built in the State at a cost of Rs 24 crore each. “The setting of these schools brings in Rs 264 crore of investment towards development of infrastructure for human capital in the State,” Sangma said.

He further said that incentives for maternity benefits and ASHA have been paid for four years. “We have now provided about Rs 25 core for clearing two years of payment,” he said.

The Health and Family Welfare Department was allocated Rs 66 crore from last year’s budget of 44 crore and the education department was allocated Rs 1,077 crore.

In the infrastructure sector, Sangma said under the Central road funds, 44 schemes comprising 40 road works covering a length of 269 km and four bridge works were sanctioned at a cost of Rs 322 crore. The road and bridge sector was allotted Rs 590 crore.

He also informed the House that various projects for rural water supply have been sanctioned and work on these projects is progressing satisfactorily. In the urban areas, work on the Greater Shillong water supply project, the Ampati water supply scheme and the Nongstoin urban water supply scheme is in progress. Work on several power projects is progressing well, he said, adding that they will be commissioned soon.

Under the poverty alleviation programme, the Government has allotted Rs 1,045 crore for the MGNREGS. Under the National Rural Livelihood Mission, an amount of Rs 52 crore has been earmarked for the current fiscal.

The State Government has set aside Rs 165 crore for the Meghalaya Livelihood and Access to Markets Project meant for the development of the rural sector. Moreover, a sum of Rs 138 crore has been allotted for the community-led Landscape Management Project. Some of the other major allocation of funds was for the Sports and Youth Affairs Department (Rs 201 crore) and the Social Welfare Department (Rs 558 crore).

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