Mizoram finance minister Lalsawta. Photo: Alfred Vanchhong

Mizoram Finance Minister Lalsawta on Thursday presented a Rs 9,672.64-crore surplus infrastructure-friendly budget for the financial year 2018-19.

Tabling the budget in the Assembly, the minister said the state has made significant progress in terms of economic and fiscal parameters. The debt to GSDP ratio in the state has declined to 46.22 percent in 2016-2017.

“It is anticipated to be further reduced to 40.87 percent in 2017-2018 and also the fiscal deficit of the state for the fiscal year of projected at 1.14 per cent of the projected GDSP,” Lalsawta said.

The finance minister, in his budget speech, said despite going through rough patches in the initial stages of GST, the tax collection under GST for the fiscal term could fetch the state exchequer about Rs 50 crore.

Lalsawta said, “Rs 1,000 crore was allocated for implementation of the New Economic Development Policy (NEDP) to boost the state’s agriculture-based economy.” The allocation of funds for NEDP saw a Rs 250 crore leap compared to Rs.750 crore last year.

In what can be seen as an infrastructure friendly budget, Rs 1983.38 crore has been allocated to Capital Account with special provisions given to road infrastructure and the proposed Mizoram medical college named MIMER.

Monsoon struck early and it struck hard last year, and roads infrastructure across the state is now in a very bad shape. The budget has earmarked Rs 50 crore for a new head called State Road Fund.

“A separate Secretariat has been established under the State Road Fund Board which is expected to bring about improved and innovative methods for better maintenance of state roads,” the finance minister said.

“A sum of Rs. 14.82 crore is set aside to meet the necessary expenses for establishment of Mizoram Institute of Medical Education & Research (MIMER), an furthermore Rs 20 crore is earmarked under NEDP for MIMER hospital at Falkawn,” Lalsawta said.

Apart from funds specifically allotted to MIMER and State Road Fund in the budget, allocations were also made for construction of Champhai Zotlang Truck Terminal and Lunglei Circuit House.

The laid budget also accommodated accolades for sports department. An amount of Rs 30 lakh was earmarked as incentives cash award for distinguished sportspersons.

Mizoram state government has signed a project agreement with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) to develop a more sustainable agriculture in the hilly regions of Mizoram. The project aimed at increasing the rural poor’s access to agricultural technologies.  The budget has allocated Rs 13 crore for implementation of the project in four districts of Mizoram.

“The government aspires to increase its expenditure on infrastructure development while trying to contain its revenue expenditure to a reasonable threshold,” Lalsawta said in his concluding remarks.

The fortnight-long Budget Session of the 40-member Mizoram assembly began on Tuesday with the customary speech of the state Governor Nirbhay Sharma.

NE NOW NEWS

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