Special Correspondent

New financial year likely to open with deficit of Rs. 33.48 crore

  • Proposal to levy a cess on banquet halls, lawns and marriage places
  • Tax relief on CFLs and other energy saving devices proposed

    CHANDIGARH: Haryana Finance Minister Birender Singh on Friday presented in the State Assembly a Rs.17,917.35-crore budget for 2007-08, which is likely to open with a deficit of Rs. 33.48 crore and close with a deficit of Rs.6.86 crore.

    While presenting a tax-free budget, Mr. Singh, however, proposed to levy a cess on banquet halls / lawns and marriage places based on the area of such premises and to use this amount for development of civic amenities. Later, talking to media persons, he said a survey would be conducted to assess the number and standard of banquet halls in the State.

    He also proposed to give a tax relief on compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and other energy saving devices in consultation with the Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers. He also clarified that despite rationalisation of bus fare by reducing tax from 60 per cent to 25 per cent and increasing the basic bus fare proportionately, there would be no increase in the overall bus fare.

    Revenue loss

    Mr. Birender Singh said the State was likely to suffer a revenue loss of Rs.550 crore due to reduction of the Central Sales Tax rate from four per cent to three per cent but, as assured by the Union Government, the loss would be compensated through monetary and non- monetary measures.

    He said the gradual increase in the share of services sector was a healthy sign for the State's economy.

    On the shortage of power in the State, he said concrete steps were being taken to ensure additional generation of power which included construction of a 1,200 MW capacity power plant at Hisar, setting up of a 1,500 MW power plant with Haryana's share of 750 MW at Jhajjar, and generation of 700 MW power for which memoranda of understanding had been signed with 10 firms for setting up independent renewable energy projects. The 600 MW capacity Deen Bandhu Chhotu Ram Thermal Power Project in Yamunanagar is likely to be completed by February 2008 and purchase agreements for 770 MW power have been signed with independent power producers.

    Allocation

    Mr. Birender Singh said the Plan allocation for 2006-07 had been enhanced by Rs.785 crore from Rs.3,300 crore to Rs. 4,085 crore thanks to better fiscal management. He further said that the Eleventh Five-Year Plan for Haryana had been approved at Rs.35,000 crore, the outlay of which was more than the combined total outlay of all the seven Five Year Plans implemented since the formation of Haryana in 1966.

    The Annual Plan 2007-08 had also been approved at Rs.5,300 crore.

    The Plan funds were being used with top priority for the social sector followed by the infrastructure sector, he claimed.

    Employees

    He said the employees would be given pay scales on the pattern of the Sixth Central Pay Commission as and when implemented and a Commission would be constituted to examine and settle grievances relating to perceived anomalies in pay scales.

    The Minister later told media persons that the budget was "growth-oriented''.

    He said a subsidy of Rs.2,300 crore was being given to the agriculture sector in addition to the budget allocation.