Finance Minister of Odisha started a pre-Budget consultation exercise

Bhubaneswar, 29 May-2014: Finance Minister Pradip Kumar Amat on Wednesday started a pre-Budget consultation exercise at a high-level meeting here to give final touch to his first ever Budget to be presented in the Assembly on June 17 next.

Finance Minister of Odisha started a pre-Budget consultation exercise

Finance Minister of Odisha started a pre-Budget consultation exercise

The first Session of the 15th Assembly is scheduled to commence on June 12. In view of the general elections, the State Government in February last had presented Vote on Account for four months of 2014-15 financial year till July next and had capped it at Rs 603,003 crore. Aamt would present the complete Budget for the fiscal.

Despite shortfall of revenue in a number of sectors, particularly mining, the Finance Minister indicated that his first Budget would be a surplus one. “We would tap all the possible sources to make the Budget for 2014-15 fiscal development- oriented and realistic so as to meet the aspiration of the people of the State,” he said, ruling out possibility of a deficit Budget.

In order to get the feedback on the financial aspects and seek opinions on the question of how to get the financial statement including one to help achieve higher GDP, the Finance Department had invited economists, former Finance Ministers, representatives of RBI, NABARD, financial, industrial houses and business pundits of media to the consultation meet.

The Budget making this fiscal has its significance as the ruling BJD’s election manifesto had already been approved of in principle by the first Council of Ministers as official document for implementation in letter and spirit. The populist promises however require huge funds for implementation.

According to experts, since the revenue from mining sector is likely to be reduced this fiscal following the closer of 26 mines on the order of Supreme Court, the Government was advised to collect the pending taxes on the lessees which is around over Rs 68,000 crore. Besides, the participants also suggested the Government to collect pending water cess from the industry bodies and expand the tax net to different business sectors.

The experts also suggested that with BJP- led NDA at the helm of affairs in the Centre the State Government should propose the Centre for hike in the mining royalty. Since the State Plan size has been tentatively pegged at Rs 35,000 crore for 2014-15 which includes Rs 2,000 crore for public sector undertakings (PSUs), the State Government would look forward to the new Central Government for a higher allocation of funds on different sectors.

The consultation was attended by former Finance Ministers Prafulla Chandra Ghadai and Panchanan Kanungo, Additional Chief Secretary (Finance) UN Behera and other senior officials.

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