Meghalaya CM presents budget with fiscal deficit of Rs 1,570 crore


By Ladiangti Rani & Ibankyntiew Mawrie | SHILLONG:

Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma on Wednesday presented a budget of 2021-22 with a fiscal deficit of Rs. 1,570 crore, which is around 4.07 per cent of the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP).

Sangma informed that for 2021-22, the total receipts stand at Rs. 17,509 crore, of which the revenue receipts are estimated at Rs. 15,232 crore and capital receipts at Rs. 2,277 crore. Excluding the borrowings of Rs. 2,247 crore, the total receipts are estimated to be Rs. 15,262 crore.

"On the expenditure side, I have estimated the total expenditure at Rs. 17,603 crore, of which the revenue expenditure is estimated at Rs. 13,956 crore and capital expenditure at Rs. 3,647 crore. Excluding repayment of loans of rs. 771 crore, the estimated total expenditure is Rs. 16,832 crores," Sangma said.

"The interest payments fro 2021-22 is estimated at Rs.1,047 crore and pension payments at Rs. 1,303 crore," Sangma added.


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State Finances

For 2021-22, the Government estimated Rs. 2,579 crore and Rs. 694 crore for tax and non-tax revenue collection, respectively.

"The projections for the devolution of taxes for 2021-22 is encouraging.

The Fifteenth Finance Commission submitted its final report to the Government of India covering the five-year award period 2021-26. The Commission has recommended a total amount of Rs. 39,012 crore for the State. This includes the share of central taxes of Rs. 32,403 crore, the revenue gap grant of Rs. 3,137 crore, the grants to Autonomous District Councils of Rs. 711 crore, health grants of Rs. 311 crore and disaster management grants of Rs. 403 crore," the Chief Minister said.

Meghalaya's share in the divisible pool of taxes has increased from 0.645 per cent in the Fourteenth Finance Commission to 0.767 per cent for the period 2021-26, he added.

For 2021-22, the share of central taxes is estimated at Rs. 5,105 crore and, the revenue gap grant is at Rs. 1,279 crore.

For the current financial year, the own tax revenue of the State, including Goods and Services Tax (GST) compensation, is expected to touch Rs. 2,213 crore, and an 11 per cent increase over the financial year 2019-20.

"The excise revenue for 2020-21 is expected to touch an all-time high of Rs. 350 crore, an increase of 27 per cent over last year," Sangma said.

The non-tax revenue collection for this year is expected to be about Rs. 374 crore, a 29 per cent reduction from last year.

Sangma further informed that the National Green Tribunal (NGT) committee had approved the auction of 2 lakh metric tons out of the 32 lakh metric tons of extracted coal.

"The e-auction process of extracted coal by Coal India Limited has begun. In the first auction, about 54,000 metric tons of coal from East Jaintia Hills and about 9,000 metric tons from South Garo Hills are put up for e-auction. When fully auctioned, the extracted coal will generate a revenue of about Rs. 360 crore. We expect to generate a significant part of this revenue in 2021-22," he said.


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Human Capital Development

Rs. 820 crore have been allocated for the Health sector in 2021-22, an increase of 13 per cent over 2020-21.

Rs. 980 crore have been allocated for the Educational sector in 2021-22, out of which Rs. 453 crore is from State resources.

Primary Sector

Rs. 559 crore has been allotted for agriculture and the allied sectors including Rs. 247 crore from the State's resources in 2021-22.

For 2021-22, an amount of Rs. 100 crore has been allocated for "a one of a kind producer support program" called the Chief Minister's Mobilisation Support for Producers, to commemorate the year of the farmer.

The Government proposed to subvent the full interest in Kisan Credit Card (KCC) loans being paid by our farmers. For the next financial year, a corpus fund of Rs. 10 crores will be set up to provide interest subvention to the standard or regular KCC borrowers of the State.

Rs. 10 crore have been budgeted for the construction of additional markets in 2021-22.

Rs. 10 crore has been allocated for the Centre of Excellence (CoE) project in 2021-22 in East Garo Hills and East Khasi Hills.

Rs. 20 crore has been allocated for the next financial year for Lakadong turmeric, mushroom, jackfruit and aromatic mission mode projects.

Another Rs. 100 crore will be spent on piggery mission in the next financial year.

Rs. 50 crore will be spent on the milk mission in the next financial year.

The poultry mission will be launched during the next Financial year at a project cost of Rs. 121 crore.

Rs. 10 crore will be allocated for taking continuing interventions under the Meghalaya State Aquaculture Mission.

Rs. 10 crore will be allocated for the implementation of the Muga Mission.


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Infrastructure Development

The Government is proposing an overall development budget of Rs. 2,461 crore for the infrastructure sector, including Rs. 893 crore from the State's resources.

An overall development budget of Rs. 1,080 crore for the road and bridges sector in 2021-22 has been proposed.

The Government has doubled the allocation for the water supply sector to Rs. 802 crore for 2021-22.

For the construction of a helipad at New Shillong Township and establishing the institute of driving and traffic research, the Government has allocated Rs. 20 crore each in 2021-22.

Rs. 50 crore each will be allotted for the development of Tura and Jowai as smart towns.

An amount of Rs. 9 crore has been earmarked for the completion of the Technology park at Umsawli, New Shillong.


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Empowering the youth- Skill development and sports

Rs. 200 crore will be allotted for sports and youth affairs for the next financial year.

The Government has allotted Rs. 30 crore for "One Meghalaya" under the youth policy.

An additional Rs. 10 crore have been allotted for taking up various youth-related activities.

Rs. 120 crore allotted for the mega sports infrastructure projects for the next financial year.

Rs. 50 crores allocated for the next financial year for 100 sports infrastructure projects in rural areas at Rs. 70 crore.


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Tourism, Arts and Culture

Rs 100 crore will be allocated for tourism, arts and culture for the year 2021-22.

Rs 30 crore will be allocated for setting up the Shillong Peak ropeway.

Rs 5 crore has been budgeted for a new scheme for the construction of homestays, restaurants, cafes, and other related infra in convergence with the PMEGP.

Another Rs 5 crore for the promotion of niche tourism products around arts, craft and music through the formulation of a systematic program to engage and support the musicians and music industry.

Rs 5 crore will be allotted for the beautification of our towns and a facelift through art.

Rs 114 crore to be spent for Tourism Infra creation through GoI's flagship programmes of Swadesh Darshan and PRASAD.

Rs 27 crore has been allocated for the completion of the Shillong International Centre for Performing Arts and Culture (SICPAC).

"Beginning of April 2021, we will increase the frequency of the direct flight from Shillong to Delhi to twice a week," Sangma said.

Rs 5 crore has been allocated for the provision of viability gap funding for this project.

Rs 20 crore will be allocated towards organising all the events related to the 50th anniversary of our Statehood.


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Promoting Entrepreneurship

The Government is budgeting Rs. 20 crore for the PRIME Program.

Sangma informed that the Government has created the PRIME Fund with a corpus of Rs. 25 crore under which Startup grants and Scale-up loans are being provided to entrepreneurs. The first tranche of the grants and the zero-interest loans of Rs. 1.2 crore has already been disbursed to 13 entrepreneurs.

"I expect the PRIME Fund to grow to Rs. 125 crore over the next two years," Sangma said.

"We are taking steps to ensure that in 2021-22, we will be able to cover 90 per cent of our villages under banking services," he added.

Rs. 10 crore has been allotted for the next financial year for improving banking coverage.

Rural poverty alleviation

For rural poverty alleviation, the Government is proposing a total allotment of Rs. 1,138 crore for 2021-22.

The Government is targeting the construction of about 47,000 houses at an estimated cost of Rs. 611 crore under Pradhan Mantri Awards Yojana-Gramin (PMAY-G). For 2021-22, the Government is proposing an allocation of Rs. 120 crore for PMAY-G.


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Social security and welfare

The ongoing Chief Minister's Social Assistance Scheme for providing financial assistance to Rs. 1.1 lakh beneficiaries at the rate of Rs. 500 per month will continue to be implemented.

Sangma informed that the minimum wages have been revised to Rs. 343, Rs. 389, Rs. 435, and Rs. 480 per day for Unskilled, Semi-skilled, Skilled and Highly Skilled categories of workers respectively from October 1, 2020.

The Meghalaya Drug Abuse Prevention Policy, 2020 was recently notified, the Chief Minister said, adding that "this will enable us to combat drug abuse and to ensure coordinated efforts among the various stakeholders."

Focusing on Sustainability at all Levels

An amount of Rs 217 crore has been budgeted for the implementation of several sustainability-focused programs and projects that include -- ongoing IFAD funded Megha-LAMP project, the World Bank-funded CLLMP project and the JICA funded project for community-based Forest management and Livelihood Improvement.

Green funds such as Meghalaya Environment Protection and Restoration Fund amounting to Rs. 445 crore, CAMPA funds amounting to Rs. 163 crore and Meghalaya Minor Minerals Reclamation Fund amounting to Rs. 90 crore will be used for the restoration and improvement of the environment comprehensively.

The Central Government has approved the SOP prepared by the State for granting prospecting license and mining lease.

"This is the first significant step for beginning scientific coal mining in the State," Sangma said.

Rs. 10 crore have been allotted for the construction of Small Multipurpose Reservoirs (SMR) at strategic locations leveraging on the hilly topography of the State.

"A project for eco-restoration of the Sohra area is also being conceptualised," Sangma said, adding that Rs. 25 crore has been allotted for the same.


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District Councils

The three Autonomous District Councils are important institutions delivering important public services at the grassroots. The 15th Finance Commission has allocated a grant of Rs. 711 crore for the ADC for 2021-26.

Improving Governance

81 services have already been notified under the Meghalaya Rights to Public Services Act, 2020, to enhance the overall delivery of services at the grassroots level.

Rs. 10 crore has been budgeted for the Meghalaya Enterprise Architecture project, under which the functioning of the planning and the finance departments is being revamped.

An amount of Rs. 80 crore has been allocated for strengthening police infrastructure for the next financial year.

"I want to reaffirm the commitment of this Government to continue with the same momentum in the next year as we move towards the 50th anniversary of Statehood," Sangma said.