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Budget lowers on VAT
March, 06th 2010

Jharkhand finance minister Raghubar Dassaid the allocations made in the budget will spur a 10% growth in the states gross domestic product (GDP). He was presenting the state budget for 2010-11 in the assembly in Ranchi on Friday.

Presenting an expenditure budget of Rs 22,297.50 crore, of which Rs 10,304.41 crore has been allocated for plan expenditure while Rs 11,993.18 crore for non-plan expenditure, Das has laid stress on strengthening the rural economy of the state by way of making available good quality seeds as well as providing marketing support to rural produce by starting urban haats at Jamshedpur and Ranchi to begin with.

Compared to the plan expenditure figure of Rs 8,200 crore in the 2009-10 budget, the current years figure shows an increase of 25.65%, by emphasising more on improving the states power generation capacity as well as strengthening its agricultural infrastructure.

Keeping in mind the states target of electrification of its villages by 2012 under the Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojna, where the Centre pays around 90% of the project cost, Das has provided more outlay for the same in the budget.

Das has also rolled back the value-added tax (VAT) on diesel from 20% to 18%, something which industry as well as petrol pump dealers have beendemanding for some time now.

Petrol pump owners in the state had been protesting the hike in VAT on diesel from 14.5% to 20% imposed by Jharkhand in early February, this year, with a target to generate an additional annual revenue to the tune of around Rs 150 crore.

To bring prices of essential commodities down to the extent possible, the Jharkhand finance minister has also exempted commodities like rice, wheat, onion, sabudana, etc from attracting any VAT.

Das, who has reduced VAT on sweetmeat from 12.5% to 4%, has also allocated Rs 300 crore in the budget for providing drinking water in the urban areas of the state. The budget, by way of making allocations, also lays stress on the total literacy drive in the state under Sarv Siksha Abhiyaan.

He has also allocated fund for strengthening the police infrastructure in the state, especially to combat Naxal mmenace in the affected districts.

Reacting to the state budget, the Singhbhum Chamber of Commerce & Industry (SCC&I) general secretary Suresh Sonthalia said, The rural economy thrust in the budget is a commendable one. It's raiseworthy that the government has decided to lower VAT on diesel from 20% according to industry demand."

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