Itanagar: Arunachal Pradesh Assembly on Friday passed the State Budget for the financial year 2023-24 by voice vote following a marathon debate.
Deputy Chief Minister and Minister in-charge of Finance and Planning Chowna Mein, who had presented the Budget 2023-24 on Tuesday, said: “This year’s Budget is based on the philosophy of ‘Vishwas’ (trust) with the mantra of ‘AtmaNirbharta’ (self-reliance) through fulfilling youth aspirations and creating livelihood opportunities.”
Responding to members’ observations during the budget discussion wherein all have supported and called for its passing, Mein said the annual budget for FY 2023-24 was prepared after in-depth studies and with due consultations with the stakeholders including the community-based organisations in a transparent manner towards benefitting all strata of the society.
“This is an inclusive budget,” he said, while adding that emphasis has been given to make the youth self-reliant so that they could become job providers instead of being job seekers.
Basing on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision, Mein said, the state government has made a roadmap to make Arunachal Pradesh a developed state by 2047.
The share of central tax to Arunachal Pradesh for 2023-24 has been expected at Rs 17,947 crore, he said and added that the revenue collection through VAT and GST in the State has improved significantly.
Participating in the discussion, Chief Minister Pema Khandu said that the Budget was designed keeping in view the ‘Saptarishi’ or seven priorities of the Union Budget 2023-24.
While citing the state’s achievements – be it on per capita income of households increase from Rs 88,768 to Rs 1,15,902 in last 6 years or the quantum jump on GST collection, Khandu said, vastness of the hilly state with its scattered population remains ‘a major challenge’ for the government.
Referring to the 1500-km Frontier Highway sanctioned by the Centre along with 1000-km inter-district connectivity, the CM said that the 2500-km stretch of road will be built in next five years involving Border Roads Organization (BRO), National Highways & Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd (NHIDCL) and State’s PWD Highway division.
While informing that tender will be floated soon, Khandu appealed to the members to tell people to cooperate on land compensation matter. He also requested the MLAs to give priority to the education and health sectors to uplift the society. He also called for prioritizing the development of villages, emphasizing that the state cannot make progress without the development of rural areas.
While stating that the government attaches priority to resource generation, Khandu said the State Own Resources crossed the Rs 3,000-crore mark this year, and the target is to attain Rs 3,500 crore in the coming year.
Leader of opposition Lombo Tayeng, while terming the Budget as “pro-people” and “pro-poor”, said: “The budget has been prepared in such a way that there is no scope left to criticize or oppose it.”
The senior Congress member, however, suggested the government to discourage individualistic schemes and ensure that the budgeted money is equitably distributed for equal area development.
Participating in the discussion, former CM and senior Congress member Nabam Tuki suggested identifying major traffic roads, which are in bad shape, for their maintenance. He also urged the government to look into the critical gaps in various sectors and to enhance the MLA Local Area Development Fund to Rs 5 crore from existing Rs 3 crore.
Senior Congress members Ninong Ering and Wanglin Lowangdong also welcomed the State Budget. BJP member Phurpa Tsering called for more budgetary allocations under ‘Mukhya Mantri Swavalamban Yojana’ to help educated unemployed youth become self-sustained, besides suggesting the government to raise the service length of ALCs (Auxiliary Labour Corps) from existing 45 years to 60 years and giving them other facilities adequately.