Fiscal mis-management: Hazy road map, no plan with Punjab

  • Gupreet Singh Nibber, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Mar 18, 2015 21:48 IST

As the newly constituted policy commission (Niti aayog) is still to give a clear mandate, it is going to be a hazy road map for Punjab as far as pumping of finances by Centre’s is concerned. In the wake Punjab government was expected to focus on ‘own tax revenue’ but the budget presented by the finance minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa has not given much hope.

Punjab can’t expect anything from the Centre because union finance minister Arun Jaitley has not shown any hope to Punjab as far as central sector fund outlay and in the past state also have been very poor in utilization of these funds.

As per projected figures of the there is just negligible Rs 90 crore increase in collection of value added tax (VAT) from Rs 17,760 crore in 2014-15 to Rs 17,850 crore in 2015-16. The state excise tax collection is also expected to rise by Rs 420 crore in the forthcoming fiscal.

Collection of revenue from stamp duty is expected to fall by Rs 60 crore, (from 2,760 crore in 2014-15 to Rs 2,700 crore in 2015-16), there is negligible rise in revenue collection from taxes in vehicles is again very minor Rs 150 crore (from Rs 1,350 crore in 2014-15 to Rs 1,500 crore in 2015-16) and Rs 190 crore increase on electricity duty from Rs 1860 crore in 2014-15 to Rs 2,050 crore in 2015-16.

Interestingly, the total debt would increase to a whopping 1.25 lakh crore in 2015-16 witnessing an increase of 10% from the current fiscal. Interestingly, the budget has hidden outstanding guarantees of 71,000 crore, which make the total outstanding debt touch almost Rs 2 lakh crore.

As the government revenue collection continues to be strained, the committed liabilities are rising sharply. The salaries bill has increased by 11% from Rs 16,571 crore in the current year and 18,354 for the forthcoming year 2015-16 for which the budget was presented. There is 6% increase in pensions bill, which is expected to be Rs 7,182 crore in 2015-16 from Rs 6,770 in the current fiscal. There is a steep increase of Rs 1,018 crore for payment of interests to Rs 9,900 crore in the forthcoming year. In the current year, it is Rs 8,882 crore.

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