Tax-free budget for 2007-2008 presented in Puducherry Assembly
Presenting a Rs. 2,858.68-crore tax-free budget Rs.50-crore hospital complex will come up in Karaikal
Puducherry: Chief Minister N. Rangasamy announced on Wednesday that the Value Added Tax (VAT) would come into force in the Union Territory from June 1.
Presenting a Rs. 2,858.68-crore tax-free budget for the fiscal 2007-2008, he said that the VAT had been introduced in all States and Union Territories in the country. Hence it was "inevitable for Puducherry to switch over to the regime". The Commercial Taxes Department would render advice and assistance in April and May to facilitate traders and industrialists to switch over to the new system.
Mr. Rangasamy said that the Government would abolish existing sales tax on Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) and beer and would compensate the resultant loss of revenue in the form of additional excise duty. The Chief Minister said that the Government had proposed to reduce the "export fee" on beer from 0.75 paise to 0.50 paise per bulk litre to promote export of beer and IMFL. Export fee on IMFL would be reduced from Re. 1 to 75 paise per bulk litre.
For the increasing incidence of diabetes among those who crossed 50 years of age and belonging to below poverty line category, the Government had decided to supply 2 kg of wheat a head through ration shops a month free of cost.
He said that six grocery commodities including "thoor dhal" would be distributed through fair price shops with immediate effect.
Share capital had been released every year to Puducherry Textile Corporation, Bharathi Swadeshi Textiles Corporation, Cooperative Spinning Mill (Puducherry) and Jayaprakash Narayan Cooperative Spinning Mill (Karaikal) for modernisation as well as improvement of their financial status.
Unfortunately all these mills continued to incur losses. A high-level committee would be formed to study working of these mills. The Government would take action on the basis of the committee's recommendations.
The National Agricultural Insurance scheme would also cover cotton, groundnut and banana. Around Rs 21.21 crore would be disbursed as farm loans through Pondicherry State Cooperative Bank to farmers. The Government would take up livelihood project under the World Bank-funded "Emergency Tsunami Reconstruction Project" during 2007-2008. Monthly pension paid to weavers would be raised from Rs. 500 to Rs. 750 and those getting Rs.1,000 would be paid Rs.1,250 per month.
A Non-Resident Indian Cell would be set up in Industries and Commerce Department to promote investment from the NRIs and Persons of Indian Origin to participate in industrial and economic development of Puducherry. A Land Bank would be formed to facilitate IT industries in select locations.
A committee would be formed to study the sharing of powers with elected local bodies. The Government would extend free higher education scheme to students belonging to the Union Territory in all Government colleges and those run by the society under the administrative control of the Government including professional colleges.
A community health insurance scheme would be introduced initially in Mahe and Yanam regions.
The scheme to distribute free colour TV sets would be implemented from next financial year. He said that it was proposed to prescribe a minimum of 10 years of continuous residence in the Union Territory for availing benefits of various schemes . A Rs.50-crore hospital complex would come up in Karaikal, he added.