BHUBANESWAR: In the face of economic slowdown and stuttering GST revenue, the State Government faces a dilemma as it started the exercise to finalise the Budget 2020-21, which is projected to cross Rs 1.5 lakh crore.
While the State Government plans to allocate more funds for heritage conservation projects and infrastructure development of tourism destinations besides increasing social sector spending, declining share in Central GST and less revenue receipts are likely to pose a serious challenge.
Amid apprehensions of lower revenue share from the Central pool and growing size of the budget with focus on 5T charter and Mo Sarkar initiatives, Finance Minister Niranjan Pujhari on Wednesday held consultations with former finance ministers, economists, investors and industrialists. The Budget will be presented in the first week of February.
As the requirement of ongoing schemes and projects is being finalised, focus will be on social and physical infrastructure including education, health, roads and irrigation, which are expected to get more allocation.
Newly launched projects like the heritage corridor around Jagannath Temple in Puri, conservation projects for Lingaraj Temple, Bhubaneswar and Sun Temple, Konark will also get significant allocation along with the infrastructure development projects of SCB Medical College and 15 other district headquarters hospitals. The Government may also increase expenditure in urban infrastructure keeping in mind the civic body polls later this year.
“We have received suggestions from the experts and the budget will be prepared keeping in mind the financial health of the State and collection of revenue,” Pujhari told reporters.
The State had presented the budget of Rs 1.39 lakh crore for 2019-20 with the target of own tax and non-tax collection of around Rs 45,500 crore. But the revenue collection is around two per cent less against the targeted Rs 34,000 crore so far. The State’s share on Central GST has also come down this fiscal compared to previous year.Since the State is bearing the brunt of economic slowdown, the debt burden is likely to touch Rs 1.06 lakh crore.
Though it had expected more revenue from the Central pool in terms of coal royalty, it is unlikely as the Union Government is yet to take a decision. Former Finance Minister Prafulla Ghadai suggested the State Government to initiate measures for increasing own tax and non-tax revenue to bridge the widening deficit gap. Former Finance Minister Panchanan Kanungo was, however, apprehensive of the expenditure. “The allocation may increase, but expenditure will be less as the State lacks funds,” he said.