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Slowdown budget: No new taxes
July, 01st 2009

Amidst global slowdown, state finance minister Vajubhai Vala refused to impose any new taxes in his Rs 57,487.91-crore Budget for 2009-10, presented in the state Assembly on Tuesday. The only new levy was a Rs 200 per annum tax on each direct-to-home (DTH) connection for TV. The tax, aimed to provide a level playing field to cable operators, would fetch the coffers a paltry Rs 6 crore.

While spending on areas like security saw a huge y-o-y increase (69.38%), sectors like education managed to get just 15.69 % rise in allocation as compared to last year. Also, spending on health and judiciary went up by 124% and 43.5%, respectively.

While economic slowdown made imposition of new taxes difficult, there were also no concessions to ease the burden of slowdown. The additional levy of 1 and 2.5 per cent on 4 and 12.5 per cent VAT rates respectively, imposed for a year for the fiscal 2008-09, would continue for another year.

Budget estimates suggest the state would end up with a surplus of Rs 53.76 crore at the end of the current fiscal. But, the surplus is sought to be achieved through huge public borrowing of Rs 14,192.67 crore the highest ever. This is nearly a quarter of all incomes in 2009-10. Last year, public borrowing was Rs 10,455.21crore.

The effort to show a surplus fails to hide that it is essentially a revenue deficit budget the first since 2006-07 to the tune of Rs 3,913.19 crore. Minister of state for finance Saurabh Patel claimed it is due to rise in overall expenditures, including 6th pay panel scales.

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