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Deficit budget in digital format tabled in Assam

Guwahati, Mar 12(UNI) A deficit budget of Rs 2149.04 crore for 2018-19 for Assam was laid in the state legislative assembly here today, for the first time in a digital format.
While no new tax proposals have been included, the thrust has been on increasing non-tax revenue.
State Finance minister Dr Himanta Biswa Sharma placed the budget in the Floor of the House, handing the budget details to the legislators in tablet-computers provided especially for the purpose.
After Andhra Pradesh, Assam became the second state to present a digital budget.
As per the budget estimates for the next fiscal, total receipts have been shown at Rs 381688.26 crore, with central taxes to account for the major chunk (29%) of the inflow, followed by funds for centrally sponsored schemes and state tax revenue (both 19%).
The total expenditure has been estimated at Rs 380688.27 crore, with public account accounting for highest share.
Though the estimated expenditure for the year would result in surplus of Rs 999.99 crore, the opening deficit of Rs 3149.04 crore would lead to closing deficit of Rs 2149.04 crore.
Stating that no new tax proposal has been made, the minister said, "In spite of higher budgetary commitments, I would not like to make any new tax except the rationalisation of electricity duty, in aid of the long term sustainability of the ASEB pension fund investment trust."
"I propose to levy electricity duty at 5% on ad-valorem basis as against the existing specific duty which is currently at 20 paisa per unit," he added.
Dr Sharma emphasized on the need to increase non-tax revenue and proposed several measures for it.
It has been proposed to increase tender fee from Rs 8.25 to Rs 100 for tenders up to Rs 20 lakh, and Rs 500 for tenders beyond Rs 20 lakh.
It has been proposed to increase by 1 per cent over the prevailing rates on stamp duty levied and registration fee transactions in immovable property.
It has been proposed to enhance various fees that are associated with wood based industries and ecotourism centres located in protected forest areas.
It has been proposed to increase the contractor registration fees for the large contractors.
The state government is further exploring the possibility of investing in profitable state run PSUs and to retire high cost debt and swap it for low cost debt.
The minister said a high powered commission would be formed to look into ways and means to argument non tax revenue.
Dr Sharma further said the budget allocations have been made to propel rural growth and inclusive development of all sections, especially women, minority, physically challenged and other disadvantaged groups.
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