Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Tuesday, Mar 22, 2005
Industry & Economy
Bengal budget focuses on employment generation
Kolkata , March 21
DR Asim Dasgupta, West Bengal Finance Minister, on Monday placed a Rs 5-crore deficit budget with the focus on employment generation. The budget makes an effort to bring the State out of its acute financial crisis.
According to the budget proposals, total expenditure during 2005-06 will be Rs 40,383 crore and total receipts Rs 40,278 crore resulting in an initial deficit of Rs 105 crore.
To cover this deficit, Dr Dasgupta hoped to collect Rs 100 crore after rationalising the excise collection from foreign liquor. Instead of collecting the annual licence fee and the additional licence fee from retailers, the Government has proposed to collect it from the bonded warehouses.
Apart from this, the minister did not mention about any other source of revenue collection but hoped it would increase by 18 per cent due to the implementation of value added tax (VAT). In his speech, he gave details about the advantages of VAT.
He said the State Government had taken steps to reduce the growth of non-Plan expenditure. As a result, the net budgetary deficit would come down from Rs 16 crore in 2004-05.
Dr Dasgupta has increased the planned allocation from Rs 4,184 crore to Rs 7,015 crore, marking a growth of 68 per cent. He said this would lead to infrastructure development and creation of six lakh jobs.
Accordingly, allocations have been increased for infrastructure (Rs 419 crore to Rs 550 crore), education (Rs 201 crore to Rs 622 crore), power (Rs 1,059 crore to Rs 2,079 crore), food processing (Rs 767 crore to Rs 1,147 crore) and industry (Rs 66.5 crore to Rs 145.1 crore).
He urged entrepreneurs of small scale sector to develop clusters and for the infrastructure development of these clusters, Dr Dasgupta proposed an allocation of Rs 15 crore.
Tea industry has been exempted from education and rural employment cess for three years from April 1, 2004 but the dues would be collected along with interest. However, the interest has been reduced from two per cent to one per cent from April 1, 2005.
"However, to avoid hardship in the payment of arrears of cess and interest, provision is being made for payment of cess in 24 equal monthly instalments commencing from April 2005 and payment of only 25 per cent of the interest by June 30, 2005, the balance being remitted," Dr Dasgupta said.
The State Government reduced the duty on energy produced by industrial units with captive power generating sets to 20 paise per unit from 40 paise per unit.
The State domestic product (SDP) of West Bengal during 2004-05 has been estimated at 7.30 per cent against 6.91 per cent of national gross domestic product (GDP). Dr Dasgupta added that average growth rate of SDP in the last three years was 7.29 per cent against the average 6.4 per cent growth rate of GDP.
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