Haryana finance minister Captain Abhimanyu on Friday requested the Central government to implement the Swaminathan Commission report for agricultural reforms, create a buffer stock of basmati, declare water a national asset, and take steps to link all the rivers of the country.
Speaking at the pre-budget meeting of the state finance ministers with Union finance minister Arun Jaitley in New Delhi, he also sought tax exemption for poultry farmers on the pattern of farm income, besides loans for them at cheaper rates of interest. “The Central government should also implement development schemes that provided the youth with employment opportunities,” he said.
On the introduction of goods and services tax (GST), Captain Abhimanyu said almost all states had agreed on the issue after the Union government had assured them that no state would have to bear any loss as result of the GST implementation. He suggested the diversification of agriculture from traditional food grains to high-value crops that were not water intensive. “End-to-end solution for the diversification of agriculture should be funded in the next year’s budget,” he suggested to the Union minister.
Capt Abhimanyu also asked the Centre to give full CST (central sales tax) compensation to the states from the year 2013-14 onwards, relax their fiscal deficit limit to 3.5% of the GSDP (gross state domestic product), increase borrowing limits, encourage public expenditure on infrastructure, and put premium on growth and efficiency in the devolution of taxes.
He said that the tax-devolution formula should encourage growth and fiscal discipline. “Negative weightage should not restrict the allocation of funds to states such as Haryana that had invested in economic growth,” he added.