|Budget 2013 emphasis on education, agro and social welfare
|Thursday, November 08, 2012 - 10.06 GMT
• Rs. 1500 allowance for state sector employees
• July strikers above 65 years and have no permanent livelihood will receive a monthly grant of Rs. 5000
• Tax on foreign liquor to be increased by 25%
• Vehicle revenue license fee to be increased
• Rs. 1000 million for security forces for housing loans
• Vehicle permit tax to go up
• Tax holiday for new CSE listing
• No selling land to foreigners from 2013. Leasing will be considered
President Mahinda Rajapaksa in his capacity as Finance and Planning Minister presented the budget for 2013 to Parliament today (Nov 8). This is the 66th budget of Sri Lanka since independence and 8th budget presented by the President.
It has a series of proposals to help uplift the socio-economic conditions of the people and the development of the country. It will specially focus on strengthening free education, health services and agriculture. It was prepared with widespread consultation with people of the country.
President Rajapaksa stated that 2013 will record an economic growth of 7.5% to 8%. By maintaining this, the goal of reaching a per-capita income of US$ 4000 will be realized by 2016.
Government spending on the free education sector will not be undermined in any manner, said the President while proposing that government education expenditure for 2013 be increased by 15% in comparison to 2012.
The government spent Rs.150 billion on the free education system in 2012 which amounted to around 9% of government expenditure.
The President proposed that Rs.306 billion be allocated for the Education sector which amounts to around 4.1% of the GDP.
Further, the President proposed that a sum of Rs.900 million be allocated for teacher training to improve the primary education in the country.
An additional allocation of Rs.4000 million was proposed in order to enroll 5000 students to universities as per the Supreme Court order.
In a major initiative in the social welfare sector, the President said interest on loans obtained by farmers in the drought hit areas will be written off and farmers will be allowed start paying loans from the next Maha season. The government will also increase subsidies given to small tea holders from Rs 300,000 to Rs. 350,000 per hectacre. Students in remote areas will receivee an additional Uniform set and a pair of shoes free of charge. It was also proposed that all equipment used by people with special abilities be made duty free.
The minimum guaranteed price for a kilogram of paddy will be increased to Rs.32-35.
Organic fertilizer producers will be given a certified price of Rs.450 for a 50Kg pack of fertilizer. Direct and indirect taxes for organic fertilizer transportation will also completely be abolished.
Further, the President proposed that 1% of bank profit and Rs.150 per 50kg of subsidized fertilizer should be given to the National Insurance Trust Fund for a new crop insurance scheme.
A further Rs.1000 million will be allocated for aiding the farmers who were affected by the drought.
A mandatory insurance policy will be introduced for farmers in the country.