BHUBANESWAR: Appropriation Bill on vote-on-account amounting Rs 16,402.82 crore for expenditure by the State Government in April and May was passed amid walkout by Opposition Congress.
Replying to the debate on Appropriation Bill, Finance Minister Pradip Kumar Amat said the vote-on-account for two months became necessary as the annual budget for 2016-17 will be passed in May.
The Minister said the departmentally-related standing committees of the Assembly will scrutinise the annual budget and may recommend changes in budgetary provisions.
Asserting that the State Government has targeted at a revenue surplus of `3,683.34 crore during next financial year, Amat said the surplus revenue will be utilised to create capital assets for sustainable social and economic development.
Finance by both revenue surplus and higher fiscal deficit (borrowing), the capital outlay (expenditure on capital assets) for 2016-17 is estimated at 4.37 per cent of the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) as compared to 4.35 per cent in the current fiscal.
Refuting Opposition allegations that the State Government has failed to improve revenue collection, the Finance Minister said the total revenue receipt for the coming fiscal has been estimated at `78,127 crore which will be 10.13 per cent more than the estimate for 2015-16.
The tax revenue to the GSDP which was 3.56 per cent in 1999-00 has increased to 6.4 per cent in 2014-15.
While major emphasis has been given to infrastructure development, the State Government has made significant budgetary provision for agriculture, health, education and backward districts, Amat said and added that 20 per cent more grants have been provided to Scheduled Tribes and Scheduled Castes Development Department.
Making a scathing attack on the Government for misleading the House, Leader of Opposition Narsingh Mishra said education, health and agriculture are the most neglected sectors.
While the Government has miserably failed to create employment opportunities, the law and order situation of the State is at the lowest ebb, Mishra said.
Even as the State Government is not prepared to accept its failure, it is not ready to answer questions of the Opposition members. It is trying to avoid Opposition queries on several issues under the plea that information is being collected, Mishra said.