The State Budget for 2014-15, unveiled on Thursday, without any new taxes or increase in the existing levies has been drawn up despite the “difficult financial situation” prevailing as a result of the economic slowdown.
Stating this Tamil Nadu Finance Secretary K.Shanmugam, told presspersons that the slowdown had resulted in a downward revision in the revenue growth targets in the current fiscal. In the times ahead, the State, he underscored, has to be “prudent and careful in launching new schemes.” Likewise, it needed to think a lot before offering concessions on existing levies, he added.
Some of the major subsidy burden of the State government, he said in response to a query, were a food subsidy of Rs.5,000 crore, which was expected to go up to to Rs.5,200 crore in the coming fiscal; electricity subsidy of nearly Rs.5,200 crore.
In the speech, Mr.Panneerselvam said the current financial year, right from the beginning, was marred by continuous slow growth in the State tax collections. The downtrend is particularly severe in commercial taxes where the tax collection target is being reduced by Rs.2,734.72 crore.
“As a result of streamlining of excise duty on alcoholic beverages, Rs.8,601.22 crore [that was] originally estimated as excise revenue in the 2013-14 budget estimates was shifted to the estimate of commercial taxes,” he said. Notwithstanding this, the commercial taxes target in the current fiscal has been downsized from a little over Rs.64,626 crore to Rs.61,891.
The government, the Finance Minister said, was constrained to make a conservative projection of only a growth of 11.04 per cent over the revised estimates 2013-14. In 2014-15, commercial taxes were estimated to contribute over Rs.68,724 crore.
On the excise revenue front, the original estimate of Rs.14,469.87 crore for 2013-14 has been revised to Rs.5,868.65 crore. In the coming fiscal, the estimated excise revenue is Rs.6,483.04 crore.
Another factor that contributed to lower than targeted revenues was the continuing low growth in the real estate sector. The number of registrations of property transaction has reduced and resulted in estimates getting reduced by Rs.652.24 crore in 2013-14. In 2014-15, the revenue from registration and stamp duty is estimated to be Rs.10,470.18 crore, assuming a growth of 13.54 per cent.