Revenue up, no proposal to levy new taxes: Yogi
Chief minister Yogi Adityanath on Sunday said the state government’s revenue increased considerably in May vis-à-vis the poor earnings of April and there was no proposal to levy any new cess or tax to mobilise additional revenue in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.
He made the assertion a day before the beginning of more phased relaxations, also known as Unlock 1, outside containment zones.
“We have got good revenue this month with respect to the earnings of the last month (April 2020) and hence there is no proposal to levy any new tax or cess,” said Adityanath, while replying to a question at a video conference with journalists here on Sunday on the completion of one year of the Modi government’s second term.
“Yes, the state government’s receipts will be over the Rs 5,000-crore mark by May 31, 2020 against Rs 2022 crore earned in April 2020. The state government spends a sum of Rs 12,000 crore to Rs 13,000 crore on salaries and pension. So, its earnings remain far behind the demand,” said a senior officer.
“Hike in excise duty rates, opening of liquor shops and increase in VAT on petrol and diesel have added to the revenue this month,” the officer added.
Yogi Adityanath, however, exuded confidence about bringing about an improvement in the situation following the beginning of Unlock-1.
“After four stages of the lockdown, we will start unlock on Monday… We are going to start major activities in most of the areas barring the containment zones, where only doorstep delivery, medical screening and other essential services will be allowed. We have started the economic activities and will expedite the pace of work,” he said.
“We have been able to get Rs 3 lakh crore investment in the past three years… We are making efforts to attract more investment. Teams have been formed. Desks for the US, South Korea and Japan have been set up to attract investment. Any company leaving China looks at UP as a potential destination. A German company did so recently,” he said.
On the prime minister’s economic package, Yogi Adityanath said his government had been able to draw maximum advantage from the package owing to the state government’s expeditious work.
“We are already getting maximum benefits from the PM’s package. The state will be able to get advantage on the basis of the pace of its work. We are satisfied with the benefits we have taken from the PM’s economic package and the Garib Kalyan package. We have derived maximum advantage, taken our existing welfare schemes forward and formulated new ones,” he said.
“We are focusing on how to give concessions to the people. The state government has been making all efforts to start most of the industry and trading activities following social distancing norms. We will make efforts to break the chain of the coronavirus while giving a push to economic activities,” the chief minister said.
He also said mass gathering would not be allowed under any circumstances while norms for various activities had been laid down.
“Religious places will open from June 8. For social activities like marriages, norms have been laid down. We are giving relaxation and making efforts to make the people aware of the measures for protection. Protect yourself and help others protect themselves is the mantra to live with Covid-19,” the chief minister said.
On the Opposition’s charge of the fudging of data, he said, “We have been able to provide 1.1 lakh beds in Covid hospitals in the state. This is the highest number in any state… We will take the testing capacity to 20,000 (samples) per day by June 30 against existing capacity of 10,000 tests per day. We have carried out 2.72 lakh tests up to now. I wish no leader of opposition parties needs to go to a Covid hospital to realise the facilities being provided there.”
“But the opposition is indulging in negative politics and leaders who have not distributed even a food packet are making adverse comments on Twitter…. We have been provided fudged information about buses. We can’t play with the lives of people. We cannot accept this,” said Yogi Adityanath, without naming any party.
Commenting on the move not to impose new taxes, Yashvir Tyagi, former professor of economics at Lucknow University, said, “I endorse the Yogi government’s decision not to impose any new taxes. Any new taxes will only bring down the purchasing power of the people. As the demand is low now, the government needs to give a boost to the economy. But the state government has to go a long way as its receipts are still lower than the expenditure.”