PUDUCHERRY: Chief Minister N Rangasamy, who holds the finance portfolio, will be presenting the Budget for the financial year 2014-2015 on the floor of the Assembly at 10.45 am on Thursday.
The Interim budget for Rs 2,550 crore to meet the expenditure for the first six months of the financial year 2014-15 (from April 1 to September 30) had been passed by the Assembly on March 12. Now, a gross budget for Rs 6,100 crore includes Rs 2,400 crore for the annual Plan 2014-2015 would be presented. The non-Plan expenditure was expected to see a cut by at least Rs 50 crore as compared to last year.
This year, the Central government has earmarked Rs 814 crore under the Plan (Rs 626 crore as Normal Central Assistance and Rs 188 crore for Coastal Disaster Risk Management) as compared to previous year’s Rs 763.90 crore (Rs 653.20 as Normal Central Assistance).
Under the Centrally-sponsored schemes, a sum of Rs 550 crore would be allotted. This has been the basis for increase of the plan size by Rs 400 crore as compared to previous year. The remaining Rs 1,036 crore would be mobilised by the Puducherry government from its own resources that include its revenue, negotiated loans and open market borrowings and small savings.
However, with the tax revenue decreasing marginally from Rs 1,290 crore in 2012-2013 to Rs 1,257 crore in 2013-2014 and the government projecting a higher mobilisation of tax revenue to the extent of Rs 1,505 crore in 2014-2015(according to the Lieutenant Governor’s address), the point of interest would be whether there would be fresh taxes or enhancement of taxes to raise the revenue.
Rangasamy has so far presented tax-free budgets, though later in the year he had introduced fresh taxes as well as enhanced taxes through an ordinance.
If the Chief Minister wants to introduce fresh taxes he has to do it in the Budget to meet the expenditure planned, or he may have to forgo the entire Plan utilisation and cut down on non-Plan expenditure as well. In the previous financial year, despite a Plan outlay of Rs 2,000 crore, the utilisation has been Rs 1,665 crore. It would be interesting to see whether the Chief minister announces any revenue-generating project to augment its revenue base.
The Budget is likely to see projects on public private partnership (PPP) mode , especially in the tourism and infrastructure sectors and urban development is also likely to get a boost under the Centrally-sponsored schemes.