The Bihar government today presented a Rs 1.60 lakh crore budget for 2017-18 with no proposals of any fresh tax. Presenting a revenue surplus budget of Rs 14555.59 crore in the state assembly, Finance Minister Abdul Bari Siddqiui said, “We have presented a Budget expenditure of Rs 1,60,085.69 crore for 2017-18 which is Rs 15389.42 crore more than the current year’s budget estimate of Rs 1,44,696.27 crore.” “We have not proposed any fresh taxes in the budget,” Siddiqui told reporters later after the budget presentation. The state’s fiscal deficit has been estimated at Rs 18,112 crore, which is 2.87 per cent of the gross state domestic product (GSDP) estimated at Rs 632180.00 crore.
“We (the state government) have maintained fiscal prudence despite Centre’s apathetic attitude coupled with plenty of problems that plagued the state like demonetisation, change in funding pattern of central schemes, state not getting special package or special category state status,” the FM said in his speech. Had the Centre accorded Bihar special category state status and implemented special package as announced by the Centre, Bihar would have prospered, he said. The budget also mentioned the state government facing difficulties due to demonetisation. “We never faced such a situation in our life when we had to face currency crunch for 100 days that adversely affected employment, income, expenditure and daily life of the people in the state. This happened because we have an economy run on 94 per cent cash. We have not been able to adopt digital transaction.”
The key departments of education, rural development, rural works, energy, health and road construction got a major thrust in the state’s budget. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s ‘Saat Nischay’ (seven resolves) which has found its place in the budget document. Most of the schemes in it were launched by the government in 2016 itself. “As far as seven resolves are concerned, adequate allocation has been made to the respective departments to which the seven resolves schemes are linked,” Siddiqui said.
Education got the highest budgetary allocation of Rs Rs 25251.39 crore against the allocation of Rs 21,897.02 crore in 2016-17, followed by energy which was allocated Rs 10,905.03 crore for 2017-18. It is, however, less than the allocation of Rs 14,367.84 crore in 2016-17. The health department’s allocation too was reduced to Rs 7001.52 crore in 2017-18 from Rs 8,234.70 crore of 2016-17, the budget document said. The estimated revenue receipts of state government have been put at Rs 1,37,158.41 crore in 2017-18 which is Rs 12,568.17 crore more than Rs 1,24,590.24 crore for 2016-17.
The revenue receipts include state’s share in central taxes, state’s own tax and non tax revenue. Of an estimated revenue receipt of Rs 1,37,158.41 crore of the state government in 2017-18, state’s own tax revenue is estimated at Rs 32,001.12 crore which is Rs 2,270.85 crore more than Rs 29,730.27 crore in 2016-17. Talking about the state’s share in central taxes, Siddiqui said it was estimated at Rs 65,326.37 crore in 2017-18 against Rs 58,359.72 crore in 2016-17.
Grants-in-aid from central government to the state was estimated at Rs 36,956.00 crore in 2017-18 against Rs 34,142.14 crore in 2016-17, he said. “In the year 2017-18 we are again likely to generate revenue surplus and the fiscal deficit is likely to be contained at 2.87 per cent of state GDP,” Sidddiqui said adding that the target of fiscal deficit will be within the limits of three per cent of Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) Act. The outstanding public debt is estimated at Rs 1,23,104.09 crore in 2017-18 which is 19.47 per cent of GSDP of Rs 6,32,180 crore, he added.