From slashing government salaries by 10 per cent to introducing new tax on air tickets, the state government has received several suggestions from the citizenry for its 2016 budget.
The finance department has received 2,600 suggestions so far from across the state following the first-of-its-kind initiative to call for citizen participation for the annual budget. The department had sought ideas to help it increase its resources and to cut down its administrative expenses.
Finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar had also announced that 27 of the most innovative and practical suggestions would be included in this year’s budget itself and even win cash prizes, with the best idea winning Rs10 lakh.
“I am keen on making this year’s budget a people’s budget. Getting citizens to participate in it by giving suggestions is one aspect of this. Majority of the ideas are well thought out, with some even having detailed tabulations of how it could help the government,’’ said Mungantiwar.
While the minister denied that new taxes like that on air travel would make it to this budget, tax on luxury and branded goods, another suggestion from the public may be considered.
Besides proposals on taxation, several suggestions have come for the agriculture department suggesting policy changes and reforms to tackle farmer suicides, better irrigation facilities. Some policy reforms made by the state’s retired employees like outsourcing work of pension payments to a nationalised bank like State Bank of India instead of wasting manpower and resources of the government on it have already been taken on board.
“Nearly 32 of our department staffers are entrusted with pension payments. With SBI currently handing similar work for other state governments, we can follow suit to make the process easier and save our manpower,’’ said Bijay Kumar, principal secretary (finance reforms).
He added that the suggestions were now being short-listed by various departments before they would get scrutinised by the committee set up to select the best ideas.