WB govt presents Rs 3.21-trn FY23 budget; incentives for EVs, tea sector

 Finance Minister Chandrima Bhattacharya on Friday presented a Rs 3.21-lakh crore budget for the 2022-23 fiscal, proposing incentives for battery-operated and CNG vehicles and tax relief for the tea sector.

Total budget allocation for 2022-23 will see 3.8 times growth to Rs 3,21,030 crore as against the figure in 2010-11, when the Trinamool Congress government assumed power, while the development allocation is projected to increase 6.7 times to Rs 1,26,305 crore.

Revenue receipts are pegged at Rs 1,98,047 crore, while the state government proposes to raise public debt to the tune of Rs 1,14,958 crore.

Capital expenditure for the fiscal is estimated to be Rs 33,144 crore, and revenue expenditure is pegged at Rs 2,26,326 crore.

Bhattacharya, the Minister of State for Finance (Independent Charge), said the budget proposes additional allocation of Rs 8 lakh for widow pension from April 1, taking the total coverage to more than Rs 21 lakh with a provision of Rs 960 crore.

For the development of north Bengal, an allocation of Rs 798 crore has been made, she said.

The budget also proposes exemption from registration fee and road taxes for two years for battery-operated and CNG vehicles both two and four-wheelers.

Bhattacharya said the exemption of 2 per cent rebate on stamp duty and 10 per cent rebate on circle rate of land will be extended for the next six months.

The budget seeks to provide relief to the tea industry by exempting rural employment cess and waiving agricultural income tax for the 2022-23 fiscal.

Allocation towards the social service sector is also projected to increase 10.7 times to Rs 73,441 crore from the 2010-11 figure.

The budget has pegged the state's own tax revenue to rise 3.76 times to Rs 79,347 crore for the fiscal 2022-23.

The minister said fiscal deficit as a percentage of Gross State Domestic Product is estimated to come down to 3.64 per cent in 2022-23 compared to 4.24 per cent in 2010-11. The budget pegged a drop in revenue deficit to 1.65 per cent of GSDP in the next fiscal.

Bhattacharya said  will be able to create 1.20 crore new job opportunities in the next four years across sectors.

Meanwhile, noisy scenes were witnessed during the budget presentation in the assembly when BP MLAs stood up and started shouting slogans, demanding filling up of vacant posts and the raising the issue of distressed tea gardens in the state, among others.

The saffron party legislators then staged a walkout in the middle of her speech.