Meghalaya chief minister Conrad Sangma during his budget speech

Meghalaya chief minister Conrad K Sangma tabled a Rs 1,849 crore deficit budget in the assembly for the financial year 2022-2023 which is 4.5 percent of the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) on March 9.

The total receipts at Rs 18,700 crore, of which the revenue receipts are estimated at Rs 16,035 crore and capital receipts at Rs 2,665 crore, Sangma said in his budget speech.

Excluding borrowings of Rs 2,632 crore, the total receipts are estimated to be Rs 16,068 crore, he said adding that the total expenditure at Rs 18,881 crore, of which the revenue expenditure is estimated at Rs 15,376 crore and capital expenditure at Rs 3,505 crore.

The chief minister who holds charge of the finance department said that the estimated total expenditure is Rs 17,917 crore excluding repayment of loans of Rs 964 crore.

He said interest payments for 2022-23 is estimated at Rs 1,110 crore and pension payments at Rs 1,469 crore.

“I am, therefore, presenting the budget of 2022-23 with a fiscal deficit of Rs 1,849 crore, which is around 4.5 percent of the GSDP,” Sangma said.

Informing that fundamental changes have been made in the budgeting system where the plan and non-plan dichotomy has been done away with, the chief minister said, “I am presenting a gender budget, a youth budget and a sustainable development goals budget.”

Combining all the investments being proposed for women for 2022-23, Sangma said, “The size of the gender budget comes to Rs 2,495 crore. This constitutes about 13 percent of the total budget size and is 20 percent higher than the allocations for the current financial years.”

“Aggregating all the investments being proposed for youth in 2022-23, the size of the youth budget comes to Rs 1,363 crore. This constitutes about 7 percent of the total budget size,” he said.

To achieve the sustainable development goals, the chief minister said this year the SDG budget has been formulated which lays out the allocations made for the achievement of the various SDGs.

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“Out of the total expenditure estimate of Rs 18,881 crore, Rs 9,182 crore will be spent for the improvement of the various SDG indicators. This is an increase of about 19 percent over the current financial year,” he added.

He also reiterated the vision for Meghalaya to be amongst the top 10 states by 2030.

Stating that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused economic disruptions on a large scale, Sangma said, “However, with the increased government spending and other measures, the economy is on a recovery path.”

“The state’s GSDP for the current financial year is pegged at Rs 37,494 crore. Given the positive outlook for the economy, the GSDP estimate for 2022-23 stands at Rs 41,10 crore.”

He said for the current financial year, the state government received Rs 5,851 crore as a share of central taxes against the original estimates of Rs 5,105 crore.

Under the special capital assistance programme, the union finance ministry has also sanctioned Rs 300 crore for taking up various capital projects.

“These additional funds are a welcome relief to the state government and I would like to express my gratitude to the Prime Minister and the union finance minister,” he said.

For 2022-23, Sangma said the state’s share of central taxes is estimated at Rs 6,264 crore.

“The state will also be receiving Rs 1,033 crore as revenue deficit grant, Rs 76 crore as grants for disaster management, Rs 140 crore for the autonomous district councils, Rs 69 crore for urban local bodies and Rs 59 crore as grants for the health sector. The total transfers from the government of India excluding the scheme related transfers are estimated at Rs 7,641 crore,” he added.

The chief minister further said that the government of India has increased the size of the special capital assistance pool from Rs 15,000 crore to Rs 1 lakh crore. Out of this, Rs 614 crore has been allocated to Meghalaya for taking up various capital works in 2022-23.

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He said the own-tax revenue of the state for the current financial year, including GST compensation, is expected to touch Rs 2,213 crore. This includes an anticipated excise revenue of Rs 300 crore.

Over the last four years, this government has been making concerted efforts to increase the state’s revenue base and these efforts are yielding results.

“For the year 2022-23, I am estimating the overall tax revenues to be Rs 2,625 crore, out of which excise revenue is estimated at Rs 350 crore,” he said.

According to him, the non-tax revenue collection during the current financial year is expected to touch Rs 541 crore.

Also informing that the government is taking steps to auction a large proportion of the 32 lakh metric tons of the extracted coal, the chief minister said, “I also expect to generate significant additional revenue through the initiation of scientific mining in the state.”

With the ministry of coal has already given approvals for prospecting operations for 17 applicants, he said, “Given this, I am estimating the non-tax revenue to be Rs 731 crore.”

He further informed that overall central transfers and the state’s own resources are estimated at Rs 10,189 crore.

Stating that the state’s financial performance on various centrally sponsored schemes and the externally aided projects has been robust, Sangma said, “I expect the state’s overall expenditure for the current financial year to touch an all-time high of Rs 15,600 crore. This is a 13 percent increase over the expenditure of the previous financial year and a 58 percent increase over the expenditure in 2017-18 when my government came to power.”

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