Gandhinagar (Gujarat): The BJP government in Gujarat today presented a populist budget in the election year, with a slew of welfare initiatives and no new taxes.
Finance Minister Nitin Patel presented the budget for 2017-18 in the Assembly with overall layout of Rs 1,72,179 crore, which is Rs 20,327 crore more than last year.
The budget has overall surplus of Rs 239.16 crore while the revenue surplus is estimated at Rs 6,065.60 crore, he said.
On tax front, Patel informed the House that the budget does not propose any increase, especially in the Value Added Tax (VAT), as GST will be implemented shortly.
Of the total outlay of Rs 1,72,179 crore, Rs 1,03,498.49 crore has been earmarked for developmental expenditure while 66,969 crore allocated for non-developmental expenditure.
Agriculture, irrigation and rural development will get the highest share of 21.88 per cent in the developmental expenditure, followed by education and sports (21.17 per cent), water supply, housing and urban development (16.72 per cent) and energy, industry and minerals (10.42 per cent).
Patel stressed that contrary to the popular belief that state revenues dipped in the wake of demonetisation, the revenues from VAT increased as more taxpayers came under the tax net.
“Against VAT income of Rs 10,198 crore from November to January last year (2015-16), we have received Rs 12,424 crore during the same period in 2016-17. It shows an increase of 21.83 per cent,” the Finance Minister said.
Education sector is the biggest beneficiary in allocations this time with Rs 25,000 crore earmarked for it.
Tablets will be provided to all the XII pass-out students taking admissions in colleges and polytechnics this year at a nominal price of Rs 1,000, he said.