Bihar finance minister Abdul Bari Siddiqui today presented a Rs 1.44 lakh crore state budget for 2016-17 with no fresh tax proposals.
Presenting a revenue surplus budget of Rs 14,649.46 crore for 2016-17, an increase of Rs 24,010.95 crore from the current financial year’s (2015-16) budget of Rs 1,20,685.32 crore, departments of education, health, energy and road construction got a major thrust.
The budget had the imprint of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s ‘Saat Nischay’ (seven resolves), which also found its place in the budget document.
Terming Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s special package as ‘Mrigtrishna’, Siddiqui demanded the Centre to accord ‘special status category’ to the state as it would help in attracting investments, specially private investments, for its faster and overall development.
Education got the highest budgetary allocation of Rs 21,897.02 crore, while energy got the second highest allocation of Rs 14,367.84 crore. The health department was allocated Rs 8,234.70 crore.
Three new medical colleges would be set up at Chapra, Samastipur and Purnea as the Centre has given its approval in this regard, Siddiqui said adding five new medical colleges would be set up in the state, each having a nursing college.
Briefing reporters about budget proposals, Siddiqui said “there is no proposal for fresh taxes in the budget.”
Enumerating the salient features of his budget, the finance minister said youths aged between 20 to 25 years would be given Rs 1,000 per month as ‘unemployment allowance’ for two years for searching jobs.
Similarly, students who have passed 10+2, would get ‘student credit card’ enabling them to get education loan of upto Rs 4 lakh for pursuing higher education. These two announcements form part of Nitish’s ‘Saat Nischay’.
In order to attract migrant labourers, Siddiqui made a fresh announcement that the state government would make payment of fares for Sleeper Class to labourers who go outside the state in search of jobs.
The estimated revenue receipts of state government have been put at Rs 1,24,590.24 crore in 2016-17, which was Rs 21,401.18 crore more than Rs 1,03,189.06 crore for the year 2015-16 budget estimates.
Revenue receipts include state’s share in central taxes, state’s own tax and non tax revenue.
The minister said fiscal deficit has been estimated at Rs 16,014.26 crore, which was 2.87 per cent of the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) at Rs 55,8808.65 crore for the year 2016-17.
Siddiqui said the fiscal deficit to GSDP has been maintained within the statutory limit of three per cent of the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) Act. As per the FRBM Act, it was required to take loans and debts within the limit of fiscal deficit.
At the end of the 2016-17 fiscal, the anticipated public debt was estimated at Rs 1,05,564.53 crore, which was 18.89 per cent of the GSDP, he said.
Asked as to how a developing state like Bihar could have a surplus budget, the finance minister said the state has been achieving the target of being revenue surplus state since 2008-09 and “we will put the surplus money for asset creation and economic activities.”
Of an estimated revenue receipt of Rs 1,24,590.24 crore of the state government in 2016-17, state’s own tax revenue was estimated at Rs 29,730.27 crore, which was Rs 4,074.42 crore more than Rs 25,655.85 crore in 2015-16.
Talking about the state’s share in central taxes, he said it was estimated at Rs 58,359.72 crore in 2016-17, which is Rs 7,612.14 crore more than Rs 50,747.58 crore in 2015-16.
Similarly, grants in aid from central government to state was estimated at Rs 34,142.14 crore in 2016-17, which is Rs 15,971.51 crore more than Rs 18,170.63 crore in 2015-16, Siddiqui said.
He said the ‘state plan outlay’ for the 2016-17 fiscal has witnessed a jump of Rs 14,364.22 crore to Rs 71,501.84 crore from Rs 57,137.62 crore in 2015-16.
Reacting on state’s budget, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said the budget was a step ahead towards implementing in mega schemes like agriculture roadmap, Bihar Vikas Mission etc.
The opposition led by BJP, however, termed the state’s budget “anti-people.”
“Bihar government’s 2016-17 budget is an anti-people budget. State government has been completely exposed with minuscule amount of allocation made for the welfare of Dalits, Mahadalits and backward classes,” state BJP chief Mangal Pandey said.