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CM Presents Budget Estimates For 2011-2012, Major Increase From VAT And Power Expected

IMPHAL, Mar 14 : Projecting major increases from VAT and Power receipts, Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh today presented the Budget Estimates, 2011-12 stressing on the importance of agriculture,  education, sports, arts & culture and village industries, health care and skill development for unemployed youths as the key areas  for development to ‘sustain the present growth momentum’.

Presenting the Budget Estimates, 2011-12 in the Assembly today, the Chief Minister noted that while the Plan size for 2011-12 has been substantially increased to  Rs 3210 crores which is an increase of 23 percent over the approved Plan outlay of Rs 2600 crores in 2010-11, it is important to utilize them judiciously that it yields the desirable outcome.

On some of the works/schemes/projects that the State Government proposes to take up under Annual Plan, 2011-12, the Chief Minister said that under the Special Plan Assistance (SPA), special provisions have been made for addressing the gaps in critical infrastructures.

He explained that out of Rs 800 crores under SPA, Rs 201 crores is for upgradation of various roads and bridges in both hill and valley districts, a sum of Rs 145 crores for infrastructural development of JNIMS, Rs 80 crores for conservation and management of Loktak Lake and associated wetlands, Rs 54 crores for Sewerage Project Phase-I for Imphal city, Rs 46 crores for flood control and anti-erosion schemes and Rs 28 crores for completion of ongoing works on APDRP in Greater Imphal Areas.

Moreover, with a view to improve basic health care infrastructure in the valley districts, an amount of Rs 25 crores has been earmarked and in the interest of differently abled children in the State, an amount of Rs 3 crores has been kept aside for setting up a special school for the differently abled children with learning difficulties, among others, he added.

Observing that the economy of the State is largely agriculture-based and his Government is all along committed to the development of agriculture and the farmers, the Chief Minister said that the outlay for agriculture and allied sector has been stepped up from the approved outlay of Rs 93 crores during Rs 2010-11 to Rs 139 crores during 2011-12. This is an increase of 49 percent.

With development of agriculture not possible without improvement of irrigation, the allocation for Major and Medium Irrigation and Minor Irrigation during 2011-12 has been fixed at Rs 326 crores, which is 10 percent of the total Plan outlay, the Chief Minister said, adding that adequate allocation has also been made for completing ongoing projects of Thoubal and Dolaithabi.

For the command area development of Thoubal and Khuga project, specific allocation of Rs 8 crores has been earmarked and an amount of Rs 27 crores has been kept under SPA for construction of Integrated Irrigation Tanks in nine districts, the Chief Minister informed the House.

With a view to augment physical connectivity in the State, the Chief Minister further informed the House that Rs 79 crores has been provided towards roads and bridges which include an amount of Rs 50 crores for widening and repairing of roads in Greater Imphal area and remote areas of the State. For the infrastructural development of border and tribal areas, a sum of Rs 29 crores has been earmarked under Special Area Development Program.

An amount of Rs 135 crores has been allocated to the Power sector which is about 4 percent of the total Plan outlay. This include Rs 15 cores for pre-paid metering in the Imphal area and Rs 10 crores as State equity share for Loktak Downstream Project, the Chief Minister said, while expressing hope that pre-paid metering system is expected to substantially curb power theft and ensure accurate metering based on actual usage of energy.

As for the social sector, the Chief Minister informed the House that education, sports, arts and culture have been allocated a sum of Rs 161 crores, which is 5 percent of the outlay, while Health and Water Supply sectors have been provided a sum of Rs 124 crores and Rs 205 crores respectively, which is an increase of 35 percent over last year’s outlay. For Urban development, Rs 134 crores has been earmarked, and specific provisions have been made for the welfare of Scheduled Tribes, Schedule Castes and Minorities and Other Backward Classes amounting to Rs 52 crores. To strengthen the Autonomous District Councils and accelerate infrastructural development in the hill area, an amount of Rs 107 crores has been kept.

Noting that Khadi and Village industries plays an important role in an economy like that of Manipur, where there is hardly any presence of major industries, the Chief Minister informed the House that with the objective of promoting and developing this sector, an amount of Rs 30 crores has been provided which includes an amount of Rs 3 crores for establishment of Food Processing Training Institute in the State and Rs 3 crores each for setting up a Common Facility Centre and Cold Chain Infrastructure at Senapati.

The Chief Minister said that skill development of the young unemployed boys and girls of our State is necessary for them to find gainful employment. During 2009-10 and 2010-11, altogether 468 boys and girls were sponsored by the State Government for undertaking skill development training program in two companies outside the State. The Plan scheme for skill development is proposed to be continued and expanded from 2011-12 onwards as part of the larger strategy to tackle unemployment among young boys and girls and an amount of Rs 5 crores has been earmarked for this purpose. To upscale and expand this program, a separate society, namely, the Manipur Skill Development Society (MSDS) has been registered for implementation of the National and State Skill Development Missions. These initiatives are expected to bridge the skill gap required by the industry and increase the employability of young boys and girls.

Highlighting the likely fiscal position during the ensuing fiscal year before ending his presentation, the Chief Minister observed that the Revenue account is estimated to be in surplus for the eight consecutive years. The fiscal deficit is estimated at (—) Rs 839 crores. This is (—) 7.87 percent of the GSDP and the total outstanding fiscal liabilities are projected at 66 percent of the GSDP during 2011-12.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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