Telangana Finance Minister Etala Rajender ducked the issue of chances of increasing indirect taxes to mop up the State revenues, during his reply to the debate on Budget in the Legislative Council on Sunday.
Evading direct clarification to the issue raised by Leader of the Opposition Mohd. Ali Shabbir, Mr. Rajender said the government was hopeful of getting good non-tax revenue from sale of lands, if not in the extent of Rs.12,000 crore made by the then Congress government during 2006-08 by disposing lands in and around Hyderabad.
He, however, welcomed the suggestion made by Mr. Shabbir and another Congress member Ponguleti Sudhakar Reddy that government should keep aside at least 20 to 25 per cent of money made from sale of lands and invest in purchasing land so that it could be a public asset for future needs. The Finance Minister promised that he would take the suggestion to the Chief Minister’s notice.
The Congress leaders sought to know whether the government was planning to burden people with direct and indirect taxes, though there was no mention of new taxes in the budget, by increasing power tariff, water charges, property tax and commercial taxes to meet budget estimates of the next fiscal since it had failed to achieve estimates of over Rs.1.15 lakh crore in the current fiscal. They also suggested the government to keep financial control on spending by Irrigation Department.
The Finance Minister said the government was confident of met the revised estimates of 2015-16 and budget estimates of 2016-17 based on good prospects for realty, industrial and IT/ITES sectors. He explained that the State’s own Tax Revenue (SoTR) had achieved a growth of over 20 per cent in the third quarter of the current fiscal compared to the second quarter and it was expected to be another 5 per cent more in the January-March quarter.