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Gehlot presents populist budget with eye to coming polls

Rajasthan,Business/Economy,Politics, Mon, 26 Mar 2012 IANS

Jaipur, March 26 (IANS) With an eye to the coming state assembly elections by the end of next year, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, who also holds the finance portfolio, presented a populist budget in the state assembly here Monday.


Presenting a Rs.396.62 crore-surplus budget for 2012-13, he announced reduction in the rate of VAT on petrol by two percent. Presently VAT on petrol is 28 percent in the state.


Gehlot, in his budget speech, said the tax on non-commercial vehicles costing over Rs.10 lakh is proposed to be reduced from 10 percent to 8 percent.


"We also propose to lower taxes on two wheelers," he said adding that the tax on two wheelers from 100 cc to 125 cc is to be reduced from eight to four percent and on two wheelers above 125 cc, a 6 percent rate is proposed in place of existing 8 percent.


Similarly, VAT rate on ATM machines is also proposed to be reduced to 5 per cent from 14 per cent.


He also proposed to exempt tax on all activities which were covered under entertainment tax.


The government has also tried to give sops to the unemployed. Unemployed graduates would get an unemployment allowance of Rs.500 per month.


Meanwhile, 10,000 students, each from class 10 and 12, securing top marks will be given laptops.


While imposing new taxes to earn about Rs.300 crore, Gehlot increased VAT on pan masala and tobacco products from 40 percent to 50 percent. The chief minister who gave Rs.225 crore tax relief also hiked the district level committee rates by 10 percent.


Rajasthan also plans to have second legislative house, Gehlot announced.


"We feel that there is need for the second house and hence we propose to constitute a state Legislative Council in the state," he said.


For this purpose, his government would bring a resolution in the assembly for adoption to send to the central government for take up the process to pave the way for constitution of the council, said Gehlot.


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