Meghalaya budget: Tax on liquor, petroleum hiked

Shillong, March 14 (IANS) Liquor, petroleum and limestone will be more expensive in Meghalaya as the government on Monday levied fresh taxes on them to meet shrinking resources after the National Green Tribunal banned coal mining in the north-eastern state.

Presenting a Rs.1.090-crore deficit budget for 2016-17 in the state assembly, Chief Minister Mukul Sangma proposed a 10 percent hike in Value Added Tax (VAT) on liquor from 20 percent to 30 percent besides raising the levy on import pass fee and transport fee on alcohol, beer and wine.

Sangma, who also holds the finance portfolio, raised VAT on petrol by 22 percent and also withdraw 56 paise per litre rebate on petrol.

He also raised the rate of cess on limestone from Rs.40 to Rs.60 per tonne.

To generate an additional revenue of Rs.18 crore during the current financial year, Sangma informed the assembly that the government had increased tax rates under Meghalaya VAT on cigarettes, high speed diesel and other internal combustion oil excluding petrol.

The state’s total estimated receipts stand at Rs.9.013 crore and total expenditure is projected at Rs.10.103 crore, thus leaving a deficit of Rs.1.090 crore, which is around 3.6 percent of the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP).

Sangma accorded highest importance to community and rural development allocating Rs.811.85 crore and earmarked a plan outlay of Rs.677 crore for the education department.

An amount of Rs.471.80 crore was allocated for infrastructure like roads and bridges, Rs.470 crore for health and family welfare, and Rs.279.15 crore for agriculture and horticulture.

Proposing a plan outlay of Rs.158.70 crore to the power department, Sangma said an amount of Rs.100.14 crore has been sanctioned initially to electrify 463 villages and 16,997 Below Poverty Line households through the grid in order to achieve 100 percent village and rural household electrification.

He also informed the assembly that an amount of Rs.9.91 crore has been earmarked to electrify 77 villages and 1,541 rural households through the stand-alone solar PV systems under the Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana, besides sanctioning of Rs.8.28 crore for the electrification of 29 villages through stand-alone solar PV systems.

Pledging a plan outlay Rs.811.85 crore to community and rural development, he also announced creation of four new civil sub-divisions at Mawshynrut in West Khasi Hills district, Pynursla in East Khasi Hills district, Chokpot in South Garo Hills district and Raksamgre in West Garo Hills district.

Sangma also announced the creation of four new community and rural developments blocks at Mawlai in East Khasi Hills, Bhoirymbong in Ri Bhoi district, Dendema in West Garo Hills and Rerapara in South West Garo Hills, besides establishing two new administrative units at Ranikor in South West Khasi Hills and Rongjeng in East Garo Hills.

Reiterating his government’s commitment to ensure safety and security of the people, the chief minister said his government will continue to provide all necessary support to police to achieve self-reliance in tackling insurgency and any other law and order situations.

The special force 10 Commandos, who have completed their training, would be inducted for counter-insurgency operations, and 15 new police stations will be established in 2016-17 to strengthen the internal security apparatus.

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