Budget session begins tomorrow

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SummaryFinance Minister Nitin Patel will present the state budget for financial year 2013-2014 in the next Assembly session beginning February 20.

Finance Minister Nitin Patel will present the state budget for financial year 2013-2014 in the next Assembly session beginning February 20.

“Budget speech will be presented on the first day of the session. The government’s is aiming at inclusive development,” Patel said.

While Gujarat has clocked an annual growth rate of 10.4 per cent in past five years, there has been concerns over the state’s moderately high public debt of over 31 per cent. Also of some concern are employment and healthcare, which have not shown results as compared to good GDP figures.

The annual plan expenditure for 2012-13 was estimated to be Rs 50,599 crore. Finance department sources said the size of the budget for 2013-14 was likely to exceed Rs 53,000 crore.

Traders have high expectations of reductions of VAT on various goods. “We have received letters from various commerce and industry associations across the state with demands of reducing VAT on a range of products,” Patel said.

Also awaited is a new policy on affordable housing, which is likely to be announced in the budget session to meet BJP’s pre-poll promise to construct 50 lakh affordable houses. The new plan for Ahmeadbad released recently already promises to construct 15 lakh houses in Ahmedabad city.

This is the second time Patel will be presenting budget, the first being in in 2002 when his predecessor Vaju Vala had resigned as MLA to vacate Rajkot-II constituency seat for Modi’s maiden Assembly election. Vala had presented budget for record 18 times.

Nadiad BJP MLA stays as chief whip

Pankajkumar Desai, the BJP MLA from Nadiad, was appointed chief whip of the state government Monday. His appointment by Chief Minister Narendra Modi comes following formation of 13th Gujarat Legislative Assembly, where the BJP is in majority with 115 out of total 182 seats. Desai (51), who has been given responsibility for the second time, tweeted, “Thanking Shri Narendra Modiji for once again giving me opportunity to be chief whip of Gujarat Assembly. “ He was chief whip from August 2010 to December 2012. He won from Nadiad for the fourth time .

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