Haryana finance minister Harmohinder Singh Chatha stressed on increasing capital investments in infrastructure and cutting back the revenue deficit while presenting the Budget estimates for 2013-14 fiscal in the state assembly on Friday.
Chatha announced certain fresh initiatives for the poorer sections of society in his Budget speech, giving rise to speculations of them being poll-centric sops.
With the revenue deficit for 2013-14 financial year projected at Rs. 2,443 crore, Chatha should be anxious over the escalating revenue expenditure - pegged at Rs. 46,223 crore, a 12.77% increase (Rs 5,236 crore) when compared with the 2012-13 fiscal.
And, he banks heavily on the estimated 15.75% increase (Rs 5956 crore) in revenue receipts for 2013-14 to abide by his vows to bridge the gap and reduce revenue deficit. "I have no intention of imposing new taxes in the Budget. I have immense faith in the growth of the state economy…. We expect a growth of 17.26% in the Value Added Tax (VAT) to yield Rs. 19,288 crore. The excise policy announced by the government will yield Rs. 4,000 crore in 2013-14 fiscal. Receipts from stamps and registration, passengers and goods tax, share from central taxes, vehicle taxes etc will take our tax receipts to Rs. 32,268 crore," the finance minister told the House.
Chatha, who presented his second successive Budget on Friday, made it clear that he intended to lay more emphasis on creation of assets by increasing the capital expenditure to Rs. 6,936 crore, an increase of Rs. 1,427 crore from the 2012-13 financial year.
HIDB will see the light of day, finally
After dithering for three years, the state government on Friday finally came out with a tangible plan to set up Haryana Infrastructure Development Board (HIDB). Chatha's predecessor, the then finance minister Capt Ajay Singh Yadav had, in 2010-11, announced to constitute HIDB to facilitate and attract private participation.
HIDB was envisaged to act as nodal agency to conceptualise, identify, approve and monitor infrastructure projects in the public-private partnership (PPP) mode. HIDB is expected to fast track the implementation of PPP projects.
Chatha said in addition to their own resources, the government intended to leverage funds available with the government to bring private sector investment in infrastructure development in the PPP mode.
The Infrastructure Development Fund (IDF) and the Infrastructure Augmentation Charges (IAC) which have more than Rs. 1,500 crore, with an annual revenue stream, will be utilised by the HIDB to be constituted under the chairmanship of the chief minister.
"We have decided to implement projects in six core sectors - roads and highways, healthcare, education and skill development, tourism, urban transport system and water supply, sanitation, and public utilities in both urban and rural areas in which transaction advisers are being appointed. These advisers will prepare a basket of projects for launch. The government expects to implement projects worth more than Rs. 50,000 crore in the 12th Five Year Plan period through this mode," the finance minister said.
Later, chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda told mediapersons that a bill to amend the Haryana Development and Regulation of Urban Areas Act would be brought in the current assembly session to facilitate setting up of HIDB.
Plan to utilise workers' cess fund
The finance minister also mapped out the way to utilise Building Construction Workers' Cess Fund. The funds though collected for past several years were laying unutilized due to lack of clarity on the manner of their utilization.
"We have decided to utilise these funds to build infrastructure - dispensaries, polyclinics, anganwaris, primary schools, sewerage and public health facilities. This infrastructure in areas largely inhabited by building construction workers can also be utilised by other poor. We should be able to galvanise about Rs. 1,000 crore in one or two years," he said.
Power subsidy bill swells
The ever-escalating rural electrification (RE) subsidy bill has always been a drain on the state coffers and this time, too, the story is no different. The 2013-14 budget estimates have pegged the RE subsidy at Rs. 4,260 crore, an increase of Rs. 388 crore from the previous fiscal's Rs. 3,872 crore (budget estimates). The subsidy bill has soared to these levels from a comparatively meagre Rs. 763 crore in 2001-02.
Increase in debt liability
Haryana's debt liability is set to get increased by Rs. 9,438 crore in 2013-14 with the finance minister putting the debt liability estimates at Rs. 67,772 crore for 2013-14 as compared to Rs. 58,334 liability of 2012-13 fiscal. Finance secretary Sanjeev Kaushal told mediapersons that the debt liability figures should be looked in the light of the size of the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP).The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) in its draft report on finances held that Haryana's debt was sustainable.
Annual plan up by 24%
Chatha said annual plan for 2013-14 is proposed at Rs. 18,000 crore, which was 24% higher than the outlay of Rs. 14,500 crore for 2012-13. The enhanced plan budget is expected to propel growth during 2013-14 as it will expand capacity in the economy, the finance minister added.
NO NEW TAXES
Govt expects 17% growth in Value-Added Tax
Govt expects revenue deficit as a percentage to GSDP to reduce to 0.59
Ratio of salary and pension to total revenue receipts may also reduce from 38.68% to 37.94%
The debt-GSDP ratio may also decline from 16.5% to 16.47%