* Fiscal deficit far larger than CM projected in budget
* Salary expenditure to balloon in next four fincial years
BY OUR STAFF REPORTER
GUWAHATI, March 16: With the Central government slashing funds for several flagship schemes, Assam is heading towards a severe fincial crisis in the coming years. Forced to confront the looming crisis, Dispur has now decided to put greater thrust on increasing tax collection to the tune of Rs 5,000 crore in each of the next four fincial years.
Fince department sources have revealed that the State government has now no other option but to increase tax collection, in order to pay salaries to its workforce. “The salary burden on the government will be much more in the coming three fincial years compared to the next fincial year 2015-16,” sources said.
According to a dossier of the Fince department, which is based on projections, the State’s fiscal deficit will be Rs 3,472 crore in the fincial year 2016-17, Rs 3,208 crore in 2017-18 and Rs 2,836 crore in 2018-19.
The amount of fiscal deficits as projected by the Fince department dossier is much more compared to the fiscal deficit of Rs 265.32 crore as shown in the 2015-16 State budget presented by Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, holding the Fince portfolio, in the Assembly on March 10 last.
Not only the burgeoning fiscal deficit, the State government will also have to grapple with the increasing salary burden in the coming fincial years. As per the projections, the salary burden will be Rs 17,985.14 crore in the fincial year 2015-16, Rs 19,723.96 crore in 2016-17, Rs 21,729.35 crore in 2017-18 and Rs 23,902.29 crore in 2018-19.
“On the tax collection front, the State government aims to collect taxes amounting to Rs 39,860.87 crore in the fincial year 2015-16, Rs 44,359.02 crore in 2016-17, Rs 49,377.74 crore in 2017-18 and Rs 54,978.39 crore in 2018-19,” sources added.
So there is no doubt that the new government in the State after the Assembly elections next year, will face a gargantuan challenge primarily on the economic front.