JAMMU: Saying that tax revenue in the state has witnessed 33 percent increase during the span of last five years of the present coalition government, the Finance Minister Abdul Rahim Rather Thursday claimed that tax revenue which was just Rs 2600 crore in 2009 is expected to increase to Rs 7500 crore during the 2014-15 fiscal.
Speaking at press conference here, soon after delivering his budget speech in the Legislative Assembly, Rather said this steep increase in tax revenue, without levying new taxes has been possible due to the better tax management and plugging of loopholes in tax collection system, adding that he has been convening periodic review meetings of the department under his charge regularly to assess performance and ensure better budget management and fiscal discipline.
Rather said the performance of the state, on account of tax collection and budget management, has been lauded by every relevant forums at the national level including Planning Commission of India (PC), Finance Commission, Union Finance Ministry and the State’s Principal Accountant General.
“Even the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India has in unambiguous terms patted the State for its internal resources mobilization initiatives,” Rather added.
He said it has been the coalition government’s endeavour during last five years not to levy any tax burden on the people not, withstanding economic inflation at all-India level. He said that due to effective implementation of Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act (FRBM), the state has been able to be within the ambit of targets assigned by the Planning Commission adding that the State was well ahead to New Delhi in minimizing its fiscal deficit as per the assigned targets in this regard. He said economic growth rate of the state is also better as compared to all-India figure, adding that the Empowered Committee of the State Finance Ministers has appreciated the State for bringing improvements in Budget management and fiscal discipline.
Briefing about the tax concessions given to various sectors, Rather said that the agriculture sector has been made more or less tax free. He said both entry tax and toll tax on fertilizers, fungicides and weedicides, which are considered important agriculture inputs, have been exempted, adding that for the first time horticulture sector especially apple, pear, cherry are being brought under the ambit of Insurance cover concession granted to Industry, trade and tourism sectors shall continue for the next fiscal.
He said the tourism incentive package which was expiring on 31st December, 2014 shall be extended upto March 2015 whereas stamp duty exemption on KCC has been increased from R 1.50 lakh to Rs 3 lakh. This concession shall also be available to the Artisan Credit Cards, he added.
Rather said the VAT remission for industry shall continue for another year whereas cashless system of VAT remission on purchase of raw material made from SICOP shall be adopted from the next year. Similarly, the Hotel tariff tax exemption shall continue up to March 2015. Replying to queries about stipendiary mode of engagement and New Pension Scheme, the Finance Minister said that these initiatives are aimed to contain burgeoning non-plan expenditure besides creating more employment avenues for the educated un-employed youth.
Reply to a query, Rather said government is actively considering establishing press housing colonies in the state.