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Amat urges Centre for more rail projects, industrial corridor in State

 Finance Minister Pradeep Amat today suggested urgent steps for financial inclusion of a large population in State, more proposals on Railways for State in the 2017-18 budget, and establishment of Eastern Industrial Corridor through Odisha besides suggesting policy measures in the wake of demonetization.

He also urged the Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to make provision of sufficient funds for development and maintenance of National Highway, establishment of new Medical Colleges attached with District/Referral Hospitals and revision of coal royalty for State.

Attending a pre-budget consultation of Union Finance Minister Amat urged the Centre to address several issues through appropriate measures in the Union Budget, 2017-18.

Amat also suggested Cess and surcharge on Central taxes, CST compensation, estimation of GSDP for working out Annual Borrowing Ceiling of state governments, pre-payment of National Small Savings Fund (NSSF) Loan.

Amat demanded that the supply of notes specially of Rs 100 and Rs 500 should be immediately stepped up and the restriction on daily and weekly limit on withdrawal of funds from Bank Accounts should also be lifted so that economic activity can resume at the earlier level and contribute to the revenues of State Government.

The Finance Minister said simplification of the direct tax regime, lower corporate and personal tax rates, fewer tax exemptions may spur investment and growth and added there is also a need for bringing about uniformity in the import duty structure to remove the pitfalls of an inverted duty structure so as to encourage the manufacturing sector.

He also urged Jaitley to issue instructions to all Banks to open bank branches in identified unbanked GPs and mandate payment banks licensed by Reserve Bank of India to open branches in some of the un-banked GPs.

Referring to the request of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to the Railway Minister for a package of Rs.5,870 crore for railway infrastructure in Odisha for the on-going projects, sanctioning of new line, station modernisation, introduction of new trains, extension of existing trains, improved passenger amenities at stations, on-board services, establishment of rail based industries, multi-modal logistics parks etc, he urged the Centre to protect the interest of State in the forthcoming Budget.

Amat also urged the Centre for the establishment of Eastern Industrial Corridor through Odisha. He said the Centre need to provide a backward and forward linkage for the industrial hinterlands of Dhamra, Gopalpur and Paradeep Ports with the Northern and Central hinterlands through a dedicated freight corridor between Vishakhapatnam and Kolkata through Odisha in the Union Budget.

Further, he demanded provision of sufficient funds for development and maintenance of National Highway in State.

Amat said the Centre may expedite the release of the balance funds for these new Medical Colleges in time so as to complete the infrastructure and start operation in 2017.

It is an expenditure commitment under the 12th Five Year Plan construction work has been taken up through EPC contract and the Union Government should honour its commitment, he added.

The Finance Minister said the royalty on Coal was last revised by the Centre in April 2012.

As per norm, the rate of royalty on Coal should be revised every 3 years, which is due for revision in April 2015.

The Chief Minister has already drawn the attention of Centre for early revision of royalty on coal and hence the Centre should revise the royalty on Coal without further delay.

Among other things, Amat also urged the Centre to finance the central share of the project on the 2016 price level including the cost of establishment so as to lessen the financial burden of the State Government, to gradually eliminate Cess and Surcharge on the Customs duty and Direct Taxes in a phased manner and release of CST compensation from 2012-13 onwards to the States immediately as the country is moving towards the GST regime from the next financial year.      

He also suggested a methodology prescribed by the 14 Finance Commission for estimation of GSDP for working out Annual Borrowing Ceiling of State Governments and pre-payment of National Small Savings Fund (NSSF) Loan.



Précis 2017
From asking his party men to ‘live a simple life and serve the people’ to taunting the BJP for its ‘crocodile tears’, Chief Minister and BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik has not only become politically invincible, he seems to be so in the coming years too.


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