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BUDGET PROPOSALS-2014 GROWTH TARGET 8%WITH DEFICIT DOWN TO 5.2% OF gdp

22 November 2013 04:30 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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President Mahinda Rajapaksa delivered his 9th Budget Speech-for the Fiscal year 2014, in parliament yesterday afternoon.  Amidst the boycott of the session by the main opposition parties the UNP and JVP, the President seemed undeterred, content with the applause he received from his supporters and aptly thankful at the absence of interlocutors.
The budget, in line with the “development” theme expounded within the Mahinda Chinthanaya allocates a significant stake for infrastructure development.
Education has been given a noteworthy position in the proposals with promises for improving both primary and tertiary education systems.
Additionally, the development of the rural economy is also highlighted with agriculture, livestock and irrigation systems being allocated significant funds.
Below are a few budget highlights on areas that directly have an impact on the lives of the general public.










State Employees


  • It is proposed to increase the Cost- of- Living- Allowance to all Public Servants by Rs.1,200 to Rs. 7,800, to pensioners who retired before 2006 by Rs. 600 and by Rs.400 to others per month, from January 2014.

The Private sector employers who do not adjust salaries of employees in line with the Cost- of Living- Allowance are requested to suitably increase the wages of their employees.
 


Women, Children and Social Services


  • Special initiatives must be undertaken to reduce malnutrition in pregnant and lactating women and in children.

It is proposed to engage family health services to provide greater attention towards promoting breast-feeding, use of nutritious food for children while also ensuring them better health care. Divineguma / Sarnurdi programs will be used to popularise the consumption of homegrown vegetables, milk and eggs towards promoting better nutrition.
The President proposed to allocate the required funds and employ nutrition specialists in each district, teach the importance of proper nutrition to school children, and carry out community level mobile clinics to promote balanced nutrition. The President also proposed to impose regulatory restrictions relating to food related advertisement by permitting to advertise only foodstuff with reasonable nutritional values. The implementation of a nationwide accelerated nutrition initiative to reduce malnutrition and get maximum productivity from annual expenditure of around Rs. 7,000 million incurred by the Government on various programs to increase nutritional levels.

 



Education


  •  total of Rs. 125 billion for general education has been estimated for education.

     
Out of this Rs. 80 billion is spent on teacher salaries and Rs. 10 billion to provide textbooks, uniforms, mid day meals and transport subsidies. A further Rs. 750 million is allocated to develop Maharagama Teacher Training College as a well-equipped training center on all subjects, while facilities in all other teacher training colleges in the country will also be upgraded.

Proposals have been made to increase the allowances given to lecturers and students to incentivize skills education and increase Diploma Holders with National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) Standards. It is proposed to increase the Academic Allowance of university lecturers by 5 percent of the basic salary.

 



Defence and Law and Order


  • Proposals are made to build three new housing complexes in the greater Colombo area, to solve the housing problems of police officers working in Colombo

Proposals are also made to provide technical equipment and vehicles to make traffic police services more efficient and effective. The enforcement of law and order requires a professionalised police service. The responsibilities of the Police Service have increased with rising traffic volumes, crimes, tax and financial frauds, illicit liquor and drugs business and also due to the gradual taking over of civil security responsibilities in the North.  The President proposed to expand facilities at the National Police Academy to train and develop professional standards of police officers
 



Taxes


  • The Government revenue this year is likely to be around Rs. 1,100 billion.

Revenue from Income tax, VAT and NBT on domestic activities has increased by 14 percent and is on a buoyant growth path.

The Government has introduced several measures to prevent leakages associated with tax on liquor, motor vehicle imports under concessionary duty schemes, under invoicing in the importation of used motor vehicles, steel, tyres and motor spare parts. Accordingly motor vehicle deprecation schedule applied at the point of import for the calculation of Customs based taxes will be revised to prevent under valuation.

It is also proposed to fix the tax-free threshold applicable for VAT on supermarket scale retail trade at Rs. 250 million per quarter. In order to prevent manipulations on the computation of turnover through exempted items, it is proposed to fix a limit of 25 percent of the total turnover as exempted value from VAT in relation to such business. Telecommunication Levy will be fixed at 25 percent.

The Inland Revenue Department (IRD) is being computerized to make tax administration efficient.
 and tax payment simple. A new Revenue Administration Management Information System (RAMIS) is being introduced to automate the processes of IRD
The new system will enable the use of a Personal Identification Number to coordinate all transactions and will also to facilitate online tax payments etc.

 



Agriculture and Livestock


  • A proposal was made to implement a pension scheme to provide a minimum of Rs. 1,250 as a monthly pension for farmers over 63 years of age, from January 2014.

Proceeds of the Govi Setha lottery along with a capital contribution of Rs. 1,000 million from the Government   are to be provided to strengthen this contributory Pension Fund.
It is proposed to continue with the fertilizer subsidy scheme to provide all varieties of fertilizer at Rs. 350/per 50 kg bag for paddy cultivation during both the Yala and Maha seasons. A subsidized price of Rs. 1,250 per 50/kg bag will also be continued for all other crops. Further allocation of Rs. 300 million in 2014 is proposed to encourage interested farmers and seeds farms, to produce quality planting and seed material and make them available in the market under a registered trademark recognized by the Agriculture Department.

Funds would be allocated to modernize all 300 Agrarian Development Centers to be able to meet farmer needs. Rs. 2,300 million is proposed to be allocated for the rehabilitation of tanks, minor irrigation schemes and abandoned paddy lands. A monthly allowance of Rs. 300 is proposed to be granted to field level officers in agricultural extension services, veterinary services, irrigation and wildlife and proposal is made to provide motorcycles on five-year lease basis, to all such field level officers to improve their regular availability.
 



Housing



Urban development initiatives of the Government have gathered a new momentum. These public investment initiatives which are funded with domestic finances along with foreign finances from the World Bank will be extended to cover several towns.ships of Kandy, Badulla, Kurunegalla, Galle, Ratnapura, Anuradhapura, Jaffna, and Trincomalee.



Health and Health Sector Development


  • The President proposed to set up radio-iodine treatment and radiotherapy units at Jaffna, Kandy, Kurunegala, Badulla, Anuradhapura and Galle hospitals to reduce the waiting list of patients for such treatment at the Maharagama Cancer Hospital from three and a half years to less than six months.

Facilities to provide medicare to kidney patients availing sufficient doctors and medicine will also be provided on an accelerated basis. Preventive care against kidney diseases will also be taken through the provision of safe drinking water to all on an urgent basis, through awareness champagnes to prompt farmers to move away from the use of chemical fertilizer and pesticides and by promoting the consumption of unprocessed food more favourable for consumption.

It was proposed to allocate Rs. 900 million to provide Reverse Osmosis (RO) water purification plants to villages in the North Central Province in which access to quality pipe borne water is not available. This is in order to prevent waterborne diseases.

It has been planned to provide an additional allocation of Rs. 2,000 million in 2014 for the development of cost effective infrastructure facilities to deal with non- communicable diseases during the 2014 -16 Medium Term Budget Framework.
Rs. 1,000 million has been allocated for the accelerated modernization of the two national children’s hospitals as centers of excellence capable of providing the next 10 year pediatric care needs of our country and the related medical research facilities.

The President  said that he was encouraged that the People’s Republic of China has extended an outright grant to develop the OPD treatment and ancillary facilities of these 3 hospitals at a cost of around US$ 180 million. I propose to provide additional provisions in 2014 and 2015 to accommodate this grant aid for the development of health services in the country

President said there has been an increase in the number of medical specialists to 1,500 through an increase in the number of doctors and medical researchers with postgraduate qualifications. Our strategy is to double the number, so that every 100,000 of the population will have 11 Specialist Doctors.
A proposal was made to allocate  Rs. 2,500 million to build a state—of-the-art Post Graduate Institute of Medicine over the next 3 years

It was proposed to give priority to increase medical specialists capable of treating kidney ailments, malnutrition and similar contemporary challenges in our society. I also propose to grant a monthly Intern Allowance of Rs.750 for medical interns engaged in hospital services and a Research Allowance for medical professionals to encourage them to engage in internationally recognized research and professional development initiatives.

 










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