Meghalaya gets a tax-free budget

Shillong, March 24 | Updated: Mar 25 2005, 05:30am hrs
Meghalaya finance minister Donkupar Roy presented a tax-free budget, running a deficit of Rs 98.62 crore, at the state Assembly on Thursday.

Stating that the budget is people-friendly, Mr Roy said it aimed at overall progress and development of the states economy, with major thrust on the rural sector.

The approved plan size for the current financial year has been fixed at Rs 800 crore. The thrust is on agriculture and allied sectors - rural development, power, road communication, education, health, water supply, urban development and social welfare, including nutrition and housing.

Besides, the North-Eastern Council (NEC) has sanctioned Rs 335.48 lakh for citrus fruit production. The NEC has also sanctioned Rs 308 lakh for expansion of strawberry cultivation in the state.

The minister said while no new taxes have been proposed, the value added tax system will be introduced in Meghalaya soon. He was confident that the transition to the new tax regime would bring the desired revenue growth.

Mr Roy also informed the House about some additional sources of resource generation. The measures included imposition of limited water user charges for irrigation works and a Meghalaya Fiscal Responsibility Bill to qualify for additional resources recommended by the 12th Finance Commission. Additional resources worth Rs 20 crore would be generated this fiscal, he told reporters. Mr Roy also said the government would continue in its efforts to achieve self-sufficiency in egg, meat and milk production.