New Delhi, Feb. 6: During the meeting of Union finance minister Arun Jaitley with finance ministers of all states on ‘Ideas and Suggestions for Union Budget 2016-17,’ Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das thanked the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Jaitley for increasing the devolution of state share in central taxes from 32% to 42%, which was a great help for the state.
In context to the Union Budget for financial year 2016-17, Das put forth a set of suggestions for the country and certain requests specific to Jharkhand.
Detailing the requests specific to Jharkhand, Das said that due to extensive mining in the mineral rich state, there is rampant displacement of people and fast receding traditional livelihood in agriculture, craftsmanship, traditional culture and social ethos sectors, which have been facing problem. Coal mining has led to widespread pollution causing health hazards.
Apart from these, the state has 27% tribal population and 30% of the state’s geographical area is under forest cover. Das said that out of the 24 districts in the State, 19 were affected by extremism.
The Chief Minister made the following specific requests for Jharkhand:
• In line with the extension of Green Revolution in Eastern India, Jharkhand has submitted a plan to NITI Aayog for revamping agriculture in the State for which it needs special assistance of Rs. 5,712.58 crores.
• The success of Namami Gange Project can be manifold if the tributaries to the Ganga are also taken into consideration. Damodar is such a tributary to Ganga flowing through the main industrial towns of Jharkhand. The state has submitted proposal for “Clean Damodar Project” for special assistance. Jharkhand has already submitted a project of Rs 1,640 crores to NITI Aayog.
• Even after 15 years of its creation, the state has not been able to create its new Capital City. Keeping in view that the contemporary neighbouring state of Chhatisgarh got sufficient central assistance to construct a new Raipur, Jharkhand needs an assistance of Rs. 4095.30 crors to create its new capital city.
Apart from it, establishment of IIT in Jharkhand, central assistance for an Open University and assistance for Smart Gram Project are also demanded.
Almost 72% of the state’s population is rural, based on traditional sources of livelihood. To develop the tribal villages of Jharkhand, the state has proposed a Smart Gram Project before the Niti Aayog and demanded Rs. 525 crore as a special assistance with a view to integrate efforts of creating livelihood support with skill development for the villages.
The state has also submitted proposal for rehabilitation of closed /abandoned mines and demanded for assistance. Moreover, the government has emphasized on the need to expedite revival of HEC.
The government has demanded to strengthen and modernise the Police to combat challenges posed by extremism in the 19 out of 24 districts of the State.
It was said that special scheme for long term livelihood generation and eradication of poverty are needed.
At least one city of Jharkhand should be covered under Smart City Project.
Revision in rates of royalty of minerals should also be taken in consideration. Apart from this, it was suggested to open bank branches in unbanked 137 villages having population of more than 5000.
In his suggestions for the Union Budget 2016-17, Das suggested that the tax treatment of the education sector prevailing prior to the changes in the Union Budget 2014-15 may be restored to provide affordability and access to higher education. Donations to higher education institutions should be made eligible for 200% deduction.
Taxpayers should be allowed to spend a minimum of Rs. 1 lakh per child as fees for higher education in institutions recognised by the government.
He suggested that the launch of National Mission for Faculty Development should be expedited. In view to increase investment in the skill development sector, Das suggested that manufacturing industries investing Rs. 5 crore in such institutes should be provided loan facility at normal rates for a 5 year term.
He added that scholarship to SC/ST/OBC students should be made available on call without budgetary limitations. He suggested that more schools from Class I to XII should be opened in all disturbed /LWE areas.
Giving his suggestions on the healthcare, the CM said that budgetary provisions in the Healthcare sector should be increased especially in the NRHM and NUHM. He said that manufacturing of medical equipment in the country should be made excise duty free.
In context to the steel sector, the CM suggested that the basic customs duty on all steel imports should be suitably raised. Regarding the Infrastructure, he suggested that MAT should be abolished to attract more investors in the sector.
He also suggested that SIDBI should be converted into a full-fledged commercial bank for MSMEs.
Regarding Insurance and Banking sector, the CM suggested that the limit of income tax exemption should be enhanced up to 2 lakhs under section 80C of the Insurance Premium Income Tax Act. The special tax exemption mentioned in Income Tax Scheme 80 CCD provided for NPS should be extended to pension schemes also.
The same benefit should also be extended to the IRDAI approved pension plans offered by life insurance companies.
In addition, he said that the number of bank branches and ATMs should be increased to national average.
Suggesting on promoting tourism, the CM said that star rating should be given to hotels without calculating the cost of investment.
The CM concluded by saying that he is hopeful that the coming budget would further energize the development of the nation as well as Jharkhand.