Air travel costlier in MP, Meals for Rs 5 to urban poor

Bhopal: Meal for Rs 5 to the urban poor, pension to widows and Seventh Pay Commission benefits to employees were key highlights of Madhya Pradesh’s Budget for 2017-2018 presented in the Assembly on Wednesday. Finance Minister Jayant Malaiya presented a Rs 1,85,564.27 crore Budget for the State with a revenue surplus of Rs 4596.40 crore. He hiked VAT on aviation turbine fuel (ATF) sold for fuelling at Indore and Bhopal airports, thus making the air travel dearer from these two cities.

“The state has remained a revenue surplus state since 2004-05 and the same situation is expected to continue in 2017 -18. The fiscal deficit for 2017-18 is estimated to be Rs 25688.97 crore, which is within the 3.5 per cent limit prescribed under the Madhya Pradesh Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act, 2005,” said Malaiya, presenting his fifth consecutive Budget.

“State Government employees will get the benefit of the Seventh Pay Commission from January 1, 2016 and will be paid hiked salaries from July 2017,” he said, adding that the total appropriation amount is Rs 1,85,564.27 crore, while the net expenditure would be Rs 1,69,954.46 crore. There will be a revenue surplus of Rs 4596.40 crore for 2017-18.

The Government has proposed to raise VAT on ATF from 4 per cent to 25 per cent for fuelling at Indore and Bhopal airports. However, VAT on ATF sold at Gwalior, Jabalpur and Khajuraho airports would remain at 4 per cent, while the jet fuel will be 1 per cent at the remaining airstrips, he said.

In order to provide food at subsided rate to the poor in urban areas, the Minister announced Deendayal Rasoi Yojna and said a sum of Rs 10 crore will be allocated for creating necessary infrastructure to implement the scheme.

Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan later announced that meal will be provided to the poor for Rs 5 initially in four major cities. The Finance Minister allocated Rs 19,872.89 crore for school education, up from Rs 18,094.04 crore in 2016-17.

Among other sectors, he earmarked Rs 16801.62 crore for energy, Rs 14387.50 crore for rural development, Rs 11489.03 crore for urban development and allocated Rs 8576.17 crore to the Public Works Department.

In order to provide pension to unemployed widows, the Government has made a provision of Rs 1,501 crore in the Budget, he said. The Government has made Aadhaar number mandatory for e-registration of properties.