Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, May 28:
The Odisha Finance department has started the process of consultations with experts as part its preparations for the annual budget 2014-15, which will be tabled in the coming budget session of Assembly beginning June 12.
The full budget will be presented on June 17.
The department today invited a number of experts including former Finance ministers, officials from different financial institutions including NABARD and RBI. Besides, trade unions, representatives of industry bodies and journalists attended the consultation meeting and gave their opinions and inputs for the preparation of the annual budget.
The meeting was attended by the state Finance Minister Pradip Amat, who, for the first time, will present the budget in the state Assembly.
While this year’s budget is set to be larger in amount as compared to the last year, the government faces an uphill task considering the shortfall in revenue collection. Besides, the government has declared number of populist schemes before the elections, which need to be accommodated in the budget. In fact the government has bitten much more than it can chew.
The council of ministers in its first meeting post elections has approved the tall promises made in the BJD manifesto, implementation of which, even in a phased manner, would heavily strain the exchequer.
The mining sector, the milch cow of the Odisha government is now in deep trouble. While 26 mines of the state running under deemed extension have been closed completely following the interim order of the Supreme Court, the mining operation in several other large mines have also been affected after the inquiry by Justice Shah Commission into the mining scam.
While total mining revenue collection in 2013-14 was pegged at Rs 5000 crore, the inflow is likely to decrease sharply in the current fiscal, as it would be difficult for the state government to resume operation of the mines without renewing the licenses.
The state government has failed to meet its mining revenue target for 2012-13 by 6.5 per cent, although it was higher by 16.71 per cent over the 2011-12 figure.
Mining revenue, the single biggest contributor to the state’s non-tax revenue segment, stood at Rs 5,352.94 crore in 2012-13 as against a target of Rs 5,700 crore. In 2011-12, the mining revenue collection was Rs 4,586.64 crore.
However, the experts have advised the government to collect the pending taxes on the lessees and industry bodies.
“As per Shah Commission’s recommendations, the government should collect the Rs 60,000 crore penalty imposed on the miners in a phased manner. Besides, thousands of crores are pending as water cess and electricity duty on the industrial bodies. These can help meet the target set by the government in the budget,” said former Finance Minister Panchanan Kanungo, who attended the meeting.
Advising the government to spread the tax net to different business sectors, senior journalist Dillip Bisoi said the government’s focus on agriculture sector and infrastructure sector will give value addition along with employment.
According to sources, the State Plan size has been tentatively pegged at Rs 35,000 crore for 2014-15 which includes Rs 2000 crore for public sector undertakings (PSUs). The net Non-Plan expenditure is projected at Rs 42,422 crore.
The state’s own tax and non-tax revenue has been pegged at Rs 27512.65 crore, a 12 per cent rise over Rs 24580 crore in 2013-14. Besides, it is eyeing a large amount of Central funds after the change in the government in Delhi.
It is to be noted that former Finance Minister Prasanna Acharya had presented a vote-on-account of Rs 34,829.34 crore for a period of four months (April-July) for the poll-bound state on February 7.
Acharya had presented a Rs 60,303.09 crore budget for the financial year 2013-14.