Thiruvananthapuram: Finance Minister K.M. Mani has said that the resource mobilisation measures in budget 2014-15, which will be presented on January 24, will not stoke inflation and affect the common man.
Mani conceded that the state’s tax revenue growth had fallen to a worrying 10 percent.
“No announcements in the budget will be made with an eye on the Lok Sabha elections,” he said while interacting with the media at the seaside inspection bungalow in Vizhinjam here where he is giving the last touches to the budget. This will be Mani’s 12th budget presentation.
He said that the main thrust of his budget would be to increase employability. “Increasing employability is the best bet to find a lasting solution to our unemployment problem,” he said.
“If employability is increased, the chances of getting employment will also be raised; they can even go outside the state and the country for jobs” he added.
He said that the agriculture sector would be modernised. “The sector’s contribution to the GSDP has fallen from 30 percent to less than 10 percent,” he said.
Technological innovations like hi-tech farming would be introduced to rectify this trend, he said.
Mani’s fiscal indiscipline will be exposed
R. Ayyappan | DC
Thiruvananthapuram: The fiscal indiscipline of Finance Minister K. M. Mani during 2013-14 will be exposed in the revised estimates he will present along with the 2014-15 budget on January 24.
Revenue deficit, which he had estimated at 0.5 percent, will spill over to more than one percent of the gross domestic state product (GSDP). Fiscal deficit, which he had promised to rein in at 2.82 percent of the GSDP, is expected to balloon to 3.5 percent.
Alarmingly, the nominal GSDP growth rate, which Mani had pegged at 15.74 percent, could fall to as low as 10 percent for the first time in a decade.
During the 2012-13 fiscal, even though revenue receipts had shot above estimates, Mani was forced to lower the estimated GSDP growth rate by nearly five percentage points from the 19.77 to 15.26 percent.
This fiscal, revenue receipts are expected to fall way below budget figures. Sales tax and VAT, which together form more than 70 percent of the state’s own tax revenue, has shown only a 10.5 percent growth.
Mani had banked on a 24 percent growth. Income from other tax sources too had depleted.
Stamps and registration, which contributes over 10 percent of the SOTR, has declined to eight percent. Contribution of excise has fallen to six percent from an average of 10 percent.
Tax collection has dropped in spite of three factors that traditionally buoy tax figures: high inflation, increase in VAT rates in the last two budgets and increased remittances aided by the fall in rupee. “This indicates administrative inefficiency,” said Gopakumar of Sastra Sahithya Parishad.
Development expenditure seems to have stagnated. Till November, the state has spent Rs 30,154 crore; it has to spend over Rs 40,000 crore in the last four months to achieve its budget promises, an impossibility....