Meghalaya Chief Minister and in charge of Finance Department, Conrad Sangma on Thursday presented a deficit budget of Rs 1592 crore for the fiscal year 2023-24.
This is about 3.42 percent of the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP).
The Minister estimated total budget revenue at Rs 21,781 crore, of which tax revenue is estimated at Rs 19,414 crore and capital revenue at Rs 2,366 crore. Total proceeds are estimated at Rs 19,442 crore, excluding loans of Rs 2,339 crore.
As for expenditure, the Minister estimated total expenditure at Rs 22,022 crore, of which revenue expenditure was Rs 17,186 crore and investment expenditure was Rs 4,838 crore. Excluding loan repayments of Rs 988 crore, the total expenditure is estimated at Rs 21.034 crore.
Interest payments for 2023-2024 are estimated at Rs 1169 crore and pension payments are estimated at Rs 1794 crore.
“I am happy to announce that the estimated capital outlay for 2023-24 is 14 per cent higher than 2023-24 and 38.5 per cent higher than 2021-22. This substantial increase in capital expenditure will be the foundation for the projected increase in economic growth,” said the Chief Minister.
The chief minister also termed the budget as 'people's budget'.
The Chief Minister reiterated his promise to turn Meghalaya into the top 10 states of the country by the year 2032, when the state would celebrate its Diamond Jubilee of Statehood.
He said, “The target is to be among the top 10 states in terms of GDP per capita and achievement of sustainable development goals. Together we will strive to build a prosperous and flourishing Meghalaya."
CM Sangma emphasized that the government's core development vision MDA 2.0 will be a priority for the next 5 years.
“We will put in place policies and programs to double the GSDP to around Rs 80,000 crore by 2027-28 and make Meghalaya a $10 billion economy,” Conrad said. This effort will include increasing both public spending and private investment by prioritizing trade, tourism, high value-added agriculture and building a knowledge economy.
He said the government would also try to double farmers' incomes for about 6,000 rural households, achieving near-zero maternal and infant mortality by ensuring 100% institutional delivery, ensuring that every child born has the best chance to reach their full potential and creating 50,000 job opportunities for young people focusing on agriculture and related fields, tourism, knowledge and digital services, entrepreneurship and tourism.
Other government visions include creating a robust sports ecosystem to nurture future Olympic athletes, making Meghalaya the most preferred ecotourism destination, providing uninterrupted electricity and running tap water for every household, building a new town of Shillong and increasing border trade.
Conrad said that in the next financial year, GSDP is expected to grow to Rs 46,600 crore, an expected growth rate of 11.5%.
He said the revised estimates of the central part of the tax for the current financial year are projected at Rs 7,386 crore, adding that this is about 18% higher than the budget estimate of Rs 6,264 crore.
The total amount of central transfers for the current financial year is expected to be Rs 8,706 crore, including authorization to the Finance Commission and other transfers from the Centre, while excluding those scheme-related transfers.
“For the fiscal year 2023-2024, I estimate the central tax rate to be Rs 7,834 crore and a total amount of Rs 8,908 crore as a central transfer,” he said.
Speaking about the scheme for special assistance to states on capital investment to stimulate investment in infrastructure has been strengthened, the chief minister said, “In the current financial year, we have withdrawn Rs 742 crore of our shares and invested in significant capital projects. Based on our actual usage, the Coalition Government has allocated an additional Rs 307 crore to us, bringing our total allocation to Rs 1,049 crore for 2022-2023. For the period 2023-2024, I estimate this important programmatic allocation to be Rs 1,003 crore.”
Despite the massive disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the state's growth rate for 2018-23 is 6.75%, Conrad said in the assembly.
“It is important to note that the annual growth rate for next year is predicted to be 11.5%. Extrapolating this trend over the next 5 years, I expect the economy of the state to reach around Rs 80,000 crore by 2027-2028, making Meghalaya a billion dollar economy,” he said.
In addition, the chief minister said that the revenue from taxes and non-taxes of the State has also increased steadily.
“According to revised estimates for the current financial year, our own tax revenue will come in at Rs 2,636 crore. In the period 2023-2024, I estimate that our own tax revenue will increase by about 22% to Rs 3,205 crore. This includes Rs 1,785 crore in GST, Rs 792 crore in sales and trade tax and Rs 413 crore in excise,” he said.
On the other hand, he said the state’s own non-tax revenue for the current financial year is expected to reach Rs 590 crore.
Sangma added, “This is an increase of 125% over the previous year’s collections of Rs 525 crore. For 2023-24, I am expecting the state’s own non-tax revenue to further increase by about 26% to reach Rs 742 crore. The process of obtaining mining leases for starting scientific mining from the Union Ministry of Coal is at an advanced stage.”