All is still not well with State's coffers

Though govt claims economy is recovering, it is not translating into revenue

Revenue collection of the State Government (from its own major sources) till July end during this fiscal, does not show any considerable improvement, despite the Government repeatedly claiming that the finances are improving of late. However, there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel as the Government reached its revenue target during this period, unlike in the last two years.

Against Rs 11,825 crore revenue target till July end, Rs 11,829 crore has been collected -- increase of Rs four crore, which is said to be negligible growth considering the size of the economy. The Government has collected Rs 7,286 crore in commercial taxes, Rs 2,718 crore in excise, Rs 1,090 crore in stamps and registration and Rs 564 crore in motor vehicle taxes in the last four months of this fiscal.

Additional taxes

Compared to 2009-10 figures for the corresponding period, it is 30 per cent jump. But the jump in revenue is mainly due to additional taxes imposed in 2010-11 budget like increasing VAT rate for certain commodities, increase in luxury taxes and hike in the lifetime taxes on motor vehicles. Moreover, there will be a certain amount of natural growth of taxes.

The Government’s claim of its finances improving is only based on the comparative figures of the previous years, officials said.

Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa, who holds the Finance portfolio, has in 2010-11 budget estimated to collect Rs 2,000 crore through an additional resource mobilisation (ARM) by imposing fresh levies. The natural tax growth has been projected to be Rs 3,507 crore. Actually the Government has pegged the total revenue collection (from own sources) to a modest Rs 36,228 crore in 2010-11 based on ARM estimates and natural tax growth projections. In 2009-10 fiscal, the Government collected Rs 29,338 crore revenue from its own sources.

Despite the effects of economic slowdown and the Government failing to reach its revenue target, the natural growth of taxes was nearly six per cent in 2009-10 compared to 2008-09 collection. Principal Secretary to Finance Department L V Nagarajan said it will be too early to come to any conclusion. The clear picture of the economy will emerge after October. The revenue collection so far only indicates that there has been slight improvement, he added.

No steps to sell land

Hoping against hope that the State will soon emerge from the effects of economic downturn, the Government has so far not initiated any steps to dispose its assets, especially valuable land in and around Bangalore. The Government has plans to mobilise nearly Rs 3,000 crore to be used for capital expenditure.

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