State finance minister and deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi presented a Rs 6,557-crore surplus budget on Thursday, thereby making a pleasant statement that the Nitish Kumar government has managed the states finances better than the previous RJD regime.
The 2010-11 state budget proposes many eco-friendly and pro-industry measures, including abolition of stonechip mining and withdrawal of entry tax on raw materials and machines meant for industries.
In a major relief to small traders, the budget proposes a small dealer tax scheme under which businessmen with a turnover of up to Rs 40 lakh per annum would have to make a one-time payment of Rs 10,000 per year and file returns once a year. Also, there will be no audit or scrutiny.
Handicrafts, household goods made of brass and bell metal and silk threads in cones have been exempted from tax. So has been mentha oil production.
The plan size of the state has been hiked from Rs 16,000 crore in 2009-10 to Rs 20,000 crore. The total outlay is Rs 53,927 crore.
Modi said about Rs 70,000 crore was pumped into the state by way of development schemes launched under the annual plan during the Nitish regime. Announcing a series of green measures, Modi said there will be no new settlement of stonechip mining and the existing ones will not be renewed after expiry of their period.
The government has also introduced a 10% green tax on all vehicles (except three-wheelers, tractors and trailers) older than 12 years.
The government would give 50% rebate on motor vehicle taxes for battery-operated vehicles as it causes less pollution. Also, the rebate on trucks and buses more than 10 years old will be abolished.
Owners of autos and city buses have reasons to cheer as road taxes have been reduced in the name of one-time payment. Vehicles having a seating capacity of not less than 13 and plying in municipal areas will be given a 50% rebate. Owners of tractors used for non-agricultural work, for which Rs 600 had to be paid every quarterly, may now have to pay just 1% of their purchase value for life.
Owners of trailers, having a 3,000-kg capacity, will have to pay a one-time tax of Rs 4,000 and Rs 6,000 for ones with a higher capacity.
Three-wheelers with four seats will have to pay only Rs 5,000 for registration for the first 10 years and another Rs 5,000 for another five years. For three-wheelers with seven or more seats, it would be Rs 7,500. Incidentally, the rebate for vehicle owners paying tax before time has been increased from 5% to 10%.
Entry tax has been abolished for tobacco used by beedi makers. Traders, selling goods on maximum retail price, will have to file return only once a year. Direct-to-home (popularly known as dish TV) operators will have to give 15% of the package offered to customers as tax. The maintenance fee taken by cinema hall owners has been kept out of the tax purview.
In the industry sector, the government has also abolished electricity duty on generators and captive power units using power for own use.