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Jaipur: Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, who also holds the finance portfolio, on March 8, 2016 presented the state budget for 2016-17 with a plan size of Rs 99,693 crore and fiscal deficit of 5.62 percent.

The budget, which includes the impact of UDAY (Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojna) scheme, projected a fiscal deficit of Rs 43,147 crore, or 5.62 percent of GSDP.

The budget contained a slew of incentives for the industry including start-ups, with tax exemption on several goods and bio-technology as a thrust area for the government in the next year.

In her budget speech, CM Raje announced VAT exemptions for solar torches, biomass stoves, kerosene lamps, hurricane lanterns, kerosene wick stoves, kerosene pressure stoves, sugarcane, sattu, marble articles costing up to Rs 1,000, sewing needles, safety matches and camphor, among others.

Items made by prisoners in jails were also exempted from VAT, while it was reduced from 5.5 percent to 2 percent on all types of yarn.

BJP-led Rajasthan government also announced reduction in VAT from 14.5 percent to 5.5 percent on all types of plastic goods, pickles, measuring tape, carpets, electric switchgears, SD cards, memory cards, pen drives and health fitness equipment.

To earn additional financial resources, Raje, who holds the finance portfolio, increased VAT on aerated water from 15 to 20 percent.

In her 3-hour long budget speech, Raje imposed VAT of 5.5 percent on semi-stitched garments, 5.5 percent on guar gum and guar gum powder, 15 percent increase on all types of cigarettes, increase of 2 percent in luxury tax on all hotels, except heritage hotels of basic and classic categories having a tariff of more than Rs 10,000.

She also kept DLC rates of agriculture, residential and commercial lands unchanged for the next financial year.

The revenue deficit in 2015-16 was Rs 5,231 crore because of reduction in revenue due to fall in the rates of crude oil, drop in the state's share in central taxes and increase in subsidy given to power companies.

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