Shillong, Mar 13: Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma on Wednesday said that the state has a revenue surplus of over Rs 700 crore during the current financial year and cited some reasons responsible for an increase in the fiscal deficit to Rs 1,323 crore for the year 2019-20, which is 3.65 per cent of the GSDP.
In his reply to the discussion on the budget in Assembly on Wednesday, Sangma said that the reduction in the revenue gap grant received from the 14th Finance Commission and the implementation of the fifth pay commission for government employees led to the increase of the fiscal deficit.
On concerns by members about the fiscal deficit which has gone up to Rs 1,323 crore for 2019-20, Sangma said, “there are valid reasons for this. One reason is the reduction in the revenue gap grant received from the 14th Finance Commission which is going to reduce to almost Rs 213 crore in the year 2019-20. Another reason for an increase in the fiscal deficit is the effect of the fifth pay commission which took place from January 1, 2017. An additional salary amounting to almost Rs 1000 crore was increased and that is one of the major reasons why this deficit had to go up.”
Sangma however said he was happy that though the fiscal deficit has increased, the revenue deficit is not there.
“In fact we are a revenue surplus state. Compared to the last Financial Year of having a revenue surplus of Rs 495 crore, this year the government has a revenue surplus of Rs 738 crore which is a very positive trend,” he justified while admitting that there are challenges being faced by the government.
“Even if we look at the state’s own taxes, we are looking at a healthy jump, and we are going to get tax revenue closed to Rs 2,600 crores from our own state resources,” the chief minister said.
He informed that other programmes and schemes besides mechanisms of increasing the state own taxes and non-tax revenue will also implemented even though it was not mentioned in the budget speech.
Pointing out that a lot of stress was given to key sectors in the development budget; Sangma said the allocation for the Sports and Youth Affairs which is very critical keeping in mind the National Games in 2022 was enhanced to over Rs 200 crore compared to last year’s Rs 65 crore.
In the Health and Family Welfare sector, he said the budget allocation was increases to Rs 704 crore in this financial year which saw an unprecedented jump by 27 percent adding “On an average the developmental budget almost saw an increase of almost close to 18 percent compared to the previous year.”
As for the issue of soil erosion in the Balat area of East Khasi Hills District, the chief minister informed that the water resource department has already submitted an estimate of Rs 79 crore to the Central Water Commission (CWC).
Regarding the concern on dams not working in many irrigation projects, Sangma however said that there are certain dams which have been damaged but majority of the irrigation projects and dams are definitely in functional condition.
Meanwhile, the chief minister said the government is trying to structure all the projects in the health sector. “We will ensure that all projects that are lying idle are activated and certain level of importance will be given to the health sector and creation of posts will be something that the government will be considered this year,” he said. According to him, the post of ANM and chowkidars will be created for a total of 22 sub health centres across the state.