Agartala: Tripura deputy chief minister holding the charge of finance Jishnu Dev Varma on Thursday tabled a tax-free budget of Rs 26,893 crore, leaving an uncovered deficit of Rs 569.52 crore for 2022-23 financial year.
The proposed budget has indicated the increase of allocation by 18.34 per cent over last year while the state gross domestic products are estimated to grow at 13.28 per cent, Dev Varma said and added, “Despite Covid19 challenge, state government has responded timely to minimize the adverse impact through multipronged strategies and enabled to secure the growth at 12.16 percent this year.”
Dev Varma said as per the vision document, the budget has a provision of Rs 645 crore to enhance the monthly social pension to Rs 2000 from October this year. The retirement age of Tripura State Rifles jawans has been increased to 60 years from the existing 57 years besides, increasing other benefits and allowances.
The budget allocation shows the rise of 18.94 per cent in total expenditure over the last financial year while the state’s own non-tax revenue is projected to be 1.47 per cent and tax revenue is 10.82 per cent.
The budget projected market loan and borrowings of 10.62 per cent and 2.47 per cent of the total budget from other sources. “Giving utmost importance to the education sector, I have allocated Rs 5010 Cr for the coming year, which is 20.66 Cr higher than last year.
An amount of Rs 21 Cr has been allocated for establishment of National Law University from next session and an English medium college will be set up in the state in next fiscal,” the minister pointed out.
The budget stated that about 41.19 per cent of the total outlay would be incurred towards payment of salaries, wages and pension while a total of 9.38 per cent of the expenditure will be made on repayment of loans and interest payment.
The state government has secured a World Bank Project of Rs 1300 Cr to improve the quality of life of the tribal communities by providing access to quality education, livelihood support and infrastructure development of 4.1 lakh indigenous families in the next five years.
“I propose a new scheme – Tripura Govt Health Scheme to cover over one lakh employees and their dependents in the pattern of Central Govt Health Scheme on voluntary enrolment basis with small contribution from each of the employees. To begin the scheme an outlay of Rs 20 Cr is proposed in the budget,” he stated.
Meanwhile, opposition CPI-M hails the budget as ‘an unrealistic projection with promises’ just an attempt to allure the voters in the election year, which didn’t have any clue to how the deficit will be covered in the budget rather indicated the rising debt burden of 33.58 per cent of the total expenditure.
“Like previous years, most of this budget announcement would not be fulfilled and it is not possible at all to manage the crisis. In four budgets, the finance minister had made several announcements on the floor of the house but didn’t implement them. Many of the cabinet decisions of this government have remained absent from reality,” commented former finance minister and CPI-M MLA Bhanu Lal Saha.
With 50.57 per cent of the expenditure already earmarked for non-plan recurring expenses, how the state government will mobilize resources for meeting the legitimate demands of employees for dearness allowance and other administrative expenditures, he questioned.