No new tax proposals in Puducherry budget

Chief Minister V. Narayanasamy on Monday presented a budget of Rs. 7,530 crore for the 2018-19 fiscal. There were no new tax proposals in the budget.

Presenting the budget, the Chief Minister said the Union Territory’s own resources for the current financial year was estimated at Rs. 4,570 crore and the Central Assistance was estimated to be Rs. 1,476 crore.

The anticipated grants for Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS) were estimated at Rs. 409 crore.

The government planned to meet the remaining budgetary expenditure of Rs. 1,050 crore from the open market and financial institutions.

Re-classified expenditure

As per the new norm outlined by the Centre, the administration had re-classified the expenditure pattern as capital and revenue.

The Centre had abolished Plan and non-Plan distinction of expenditure and classified the expenditure as capital and revenue, he said.

The Chief Minister said a major portion of the financial resources was meant for committed expenditure such as salaries, pension, loan, interest payments and power purchase.

Mr. Narayanasamy said of the budget estimate of Rs. 7,530 crore, Rs. 1, 800 crore had been set aside for salary payment, Rs. 875 crore for pensions and Rs. 1,380 crore for repayment of loan and Rs. 1, 200 crore for power purchase.

Pensions, grants

The government had earmarked Rs. 540 crore for old age pension and Rs. 762 crore as grant-in aid for public sector undertakings and co-operative institutions.

After the creation of a separate public account, the Centre dispensed with the grant of Plan loans and it was left to the territorial administration to obtain loan through open market borrowing and from financial institutions.

At the time of opening the public account in December, 2007, there was an outstanding loan of Rs. 2,177 crore given by the Centre to the Union Territory.

Legacy loan waiver

Mr. Narayanasamy said he had been persistently requesting the Centre to waive the legacy loan of Rs. 2,177 crore.

The government had been requesting the Centre to write off legacy loan and provide more grants for meeting the expenditure of Rs. 1,050 crore towards implementing the Seventh Pay Commission recommendations.

“The government has requested the Centre to provide additional funds to meet the non-plan expenditure gap, reimbursement of financial benefits given to retired employees.

“No reply has been received from the Centre and against this background, my government has been making sincere efforts to continue all welfare schemes with the available resources,” he said.

Debt repaid partially

Despite the financial constraints, the government had re-paid Rs. 337 crore taken through open market in 2007-08. The outstanding debt obligations of the Union Territory, including loans taken from the financial year 2007-08 to 2017-18 stand at Rs. 7,730 crore, which was 25% of the Gross State Domestic Product.

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