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Tripura Budget Speech 2004-2005

Mr Speaker Sir,

With your kind permission, I rise to present the Budget for the year 2004-05.

2. At the outset, I would like to congratulate the people of our country, for keeping their faith in left democratic and secular forces in the recently concluded Lok Sabha Election and voting out the parties prosecuting communal and anti-people economic policies under the umbrella of so-called liberalization, privatisation and globalization. I also pay my homage to the Central and State Forces and the people who laid down their lives at the hands of terrorists and miscreants on the eve of Election. I would also like to compliment the employees and officers, who were involved in smooth conduct of the Election.

3. I am presenting this Budget at a time when the imperialist powers led by USA have pushed the poor countries of the world to the brink of a great crisis,. Forceful occupation of Iraq is being continued by the USA in violation of International Laws and UN resolutions. Not only so, with the patronage of USA, Israel is plotting to assassinate Palestine leader Yasser Arafat. We have always stood against such imperialistic activities. Our Country should come out openly to protest against such aggression and activities of the imperialist forces.

4. It is well known to all that North-eastern Region is a victim of extremist activities. The anti-national insurgent groups have been operating from across the International Border. The insurgent groups active in our State have their camps in Bangladesh, under the patronage of the ISI. On the request of the State Government, the Central Government has drawn attention of the Bangladesh Government for dismantling these camps.

5. The so-called Reforms Policy followed from early nineties by the successive Government at the Centre under dictates of IMF, World Bank & WTO has endangered the economic a\stability of the country. This has resulted in widening of regional disparities, gap between rich and poor and is adversely affecting the interest of the common people. In the past, the Central Government has followed the policy of privatising a large number of profit-making core public sector undertakings, ignoring the interest of the workers and common people of the country and thereby under-mining the social obligations of the Government. Further, due to so-called reform measures adopted by the successive Governments at the Centre, the numbers of closed industrial units has gone up from 2.23 lakhs in 1991 to about 4 lakh by now. As a result, the number of unemployed persons has gone up significantly. Not only that, even the agriculture sector was very badly affected and there were a large number of instances of farmers committing suicide. We believe that process of reforms needs to be pursued, keeping in mind the interests of the people of the country, especially the workers, farmers and downtrodden people. We hope that the new Government formed at the Centre will pursue such policies.

6. As regards the regional disparities, I would like to cite two examples. In 1980-81, our State’s per capita income was 50% as compared to the first-ranked state of the country. But in 2000-01, the percentage dropped to 33%, Similarly, Under the Eighth Finance Commission Award, the share of the North-eastern States in the Central Transfers was 8.99% of the Total Transfers to all the States taken together, but the same declined to 6.5% during Eleventh Finance Commission period. The share of Tripura declined from 1.42% during Eighth Finance Commission Period to only 1.0% by the Eleventh Finance Commission Period. The declining share of transfer of Central Funds through the Finance Commission Awards, coupled with the non-availability of additional Plan Assistance, for covering the Non-plan revenue deficit, has put our State, along with other North-eastern States, in serious financial difficulties.

7. Hon’ble Members are aware that at the time of presenting last year’s Budget, I had mentioned about the problems faced by the State, due to withholding of 15% non-plan gap grant recommended by the Finance Commission. Besides this also, the Central Transfers have fallen short of the Eleventh Finance Commission Award, in many ways, which are as follows:

a) The Commission grossly under-estimated the committed liabilities of the State Government while computing the Non-plan Gap Grant, especially relating to the interest liabilities, pension, security and salary expenditure. The total shortfall during first 4 years of the EFC Award has been Rs 668.66 crores, on account of interest and pensions alone.

b) The estimated receipts under Central Transfer Grant, especially on account of Share of Central Taxes was over-estimated. The total shortfall on this account during first 4 years of EFC Award has been Rs 306.17 crores.

c) Withholding of 15% Gap Grant through imposition of unreasonable and stiff conditions under Medium Term Fiscal Reform Programme. The total shortfall in resources on this account is Rs 225 crores.

8. Thus, the total shortfall during last 4 years, on account of EFC Award has been about Rs 1199.83 crores. Such utter failure of the Central Government to transfer the required resources to the State, has put a very heavy strain of the State’s resources.

9. In fact, the deprivation of the State has not been confined only to the Non-0plan Central Transfers through EFC Award. The State has also been seriously discriminated against, by the Centre, in Transfer of Plan Grants, especially during the year 2002-03 and 2003-04. While average annual growth of Central Plan Grant Transfers was over 10% upto 2001-02, the same declined to (-) 5.5% during 2002-03. In absolute terms, this meant that the State Government received about Rs 100 crores short during the year.

10. The Hon’ble Members are aware that our State is handicapped due to geographical isolation, narrow resource base, and adverse impact of partition of the country. Despite our best efforts in mobilization of own resources, dependence on Central Transfers could not be reduced significantly, as only 15% of the State’s Budget is met from State’s own revenue, In this respect, I would like to mention here that during the last six years, we could increase our own tax revenue earnings over 200% and Non-tax revenue earnings by about 150%, which were much higher, as compared to the EFC estimates. However, despite such performance in raising our own resources, it was not possible to meet the large gap created due to shortfall in Central Transfers.

11. The Hon’ble Members may kindly recall that during last winter session, I had given a statement in the House explaining the circumstances under which the State had to execute a Letter of Agreement with the Ministry of Finance. Under that Letter of Agreement, milestones were fixed for collection of revenue by the State Government, providing of Funds by the Central Government on account of Share of Central Taxes and other Central Transfers during 2002-03. I am gland to inform the House that the State exceeded the milestone for Own Revenue Collection by Rs 15 crores. Similarly, the State could contain its revenue expenditure within the prescribed limit. However, receipts from the Centre remained far short of target fixed in the Letter of Agreement. The shortfall was about Rs 38 crores on account of Share of Central Taxes and about Rs 317 crores on account of other Central Transfers. Thus, while the State govt. achieved all the targets, the Central Govt. failed to meet the targets of transfer of resources to the State. The issue was raised repeatedly at the level of the Union Finance Minister and as well as the Prime Minister, but the Central Government did not take any positive action and penalised the State most unreasonably, by refusing to release the withheld Gap Grant for the year.

12. Another cause of concern for the State is the growing Debt Stock and the increasing burden for its Servicing. The difficulties started when the Planning Commission stopped extending Special Non-plan Revenue Account. This step was taken on the assumption that the devolution through the Finance Commission would be able to take care of the Non-Plan Revenue Deficit. But, in practice, this has not materialized. As a result, borrowing remained the only alternative to cover the resources gap. Secondly, I had mentioned about shortfall of Rs 1199.83 crores in the Central Receipts during first 4 years of the EFC Award. As a pro-people government, we cannot sacrifice our development efforts on the ground of shortfall in Central Transfers. Hence, we were compelled to borrow higher amounts of loans from different agencies, in order to maintain the pace of development.

13. The problem of growing Debt burden and imposing Debt servicing liabilities was brought to the notice of the Central Government and the Twelfth Finance Commission. The State Government feels that the only way to correct the fiscal imbalance of the State is that the State should be provided a special Debt Relief Package, which should include write-off of old debts (including interest thereon) and at the same time the lowering of the interest rates.

14. In respect of Non-plan Expenditure, I would like to apprise the Hon’ble Members that the single largest committed expenditure of the State is on account of salaries & wages of the State Government employees. The expenditure increased by about 38% due to revision of pay scales of the State Government employees in 1999, in tune with the Central Government Pay Commission Award. This expenditure is also growing due to periodical increments. Promotions, periodical release of Dearness Allowance and fresh recruitments. The other main reason for increase in salary and wage expenditure is the need to maintain a large contingent of police forces to contain the insurgency. It is the prime duty of the State Government to maintain law and order and to protect lives and properties of its people. The expenditure on Police forms 13.29% of the total Non-plan Expenditure of the State and 8.63% of the Total Expenditure of the State. I am sure the Hon’ble Members would agree that the insurgency problem should not be treated as a problem of the concerned State alone, but should be treated as a national problem. In view of this, the State deserves to get 100% support for the expenditure on Police from the Central Government for combating insurgency. Unfortunately, only a small financial support is received from the Centre in this respect.

15. The other important Non-plan expenditure is the Payment of Pensions. It constitutes about 12% of total revenue expenditure of the State. The annual growth in the Pension Expenditure is about 18% during past few years. Since it is a committed liability, there is no scope to reduce this expenditure. Unfortunately, the last Finance Commission ignored the actual growth in Pensions and grossly underestimated the expenditure for Award on Non-plan Gap Grant.

16. It is under the above scenario of extremely difficult financial situation and resource limitations of the State that I had taken up the task for preparing the Budget for the year 2004-05. The Hon’ble Members would appreciate that the current difficult financial situation, created largely due to apathy and discriminatory stand of the Central Govt. and other factors beyond the control of the State Government, calls for an approach to promote financial stability of the State. It is proposed to curtail non-essential expenditure through vigorous austerity measures, which have already been initiated. The State Government would also strive to mobilise more revenues, while ensuring that the poor people and weaker sections of the society are not burdened in any manner. The State Government also plans to bring about significant improvements in the Power Sector. This would be done keeping in mind that the people get the required good quality power at reasonable rates, but at the same time they pay for such power and there are no leakages or power theft. These measures for reducing expenditure and increasing revenues are basically meant to ensure that the expenditure of important priority sectors is maintained as in the past. However, I must add here that the capacity of the State Govt. to maintain the expenditure levels in the Priority Sectors would depend, to a great extent, on Release of Withheld Gap Grant of Rs 225 crores, by the Central Government, for which the State Govt, would make the best possible efforts.

17. The Hon’ble Members may kindly recall that in my Budget Speech for 2003-04, I had mentioned about certain specific time-bound targets in critical sectors like irrigation, housing, literacy, drinking water, sanitation and self-employment programmes. During the year, significant achievements have been made in all these areas. WE would like to continue our sincere efforts to fulfil the remaining targets during the current financial year to meet aspiration of the people, with focus on development of ST, SC, OBC and weaker sections of the society.

Annual Plan

18. As per Revised Estimates for 2002-03, the Outlay on the core State Plan was Rs 600.11 crores, against which the total expenditure incurred was Rs 584.68 crores. Expenditures against earmarked sectors like PMGY, BADP etc. were fully met. The core State Plan for 2003-04 was fixed at the level of Rs 650.00 crores after discussions with the Planning Commission, which came down marginally to Rs 622.03 crores at the RE stage. The Plan size for the financial year 2004-05 is yet to be finalized with the Planning Commission. However, keeping in view the Plan size of preceding year and the normal growth rate, the core size of State Plan has been projected in the Budget at Rs 681.14 crores. Now, I will mention about the progress made in various sectors and the budget outlay for the current year in these sectors.

Rural Development

19. It is the commitment of the State government to improve the quality of life of the rural people through proper implementation of all available rural development schemes, including creation of wage employment, housing for the poor, providing safe drinking water, promoting avenues of self-employment, sanitation, development of infrastructure in rural areas and support to agri and allied activities. Significant achievements under important schemes during year 2003-04 are: Employment generation: 135.95 lakhs mandays, Self-employment: 6,527 Swarojagaris, Formation of Self-Help Group: 8,704, Housing for the BPL families: 22,835 units, Creation of spot water sources: 1,065 units, Providing of individual latrines: 2,51,261 units and Constructions taken up for Block building: 6 units. Implementation of all these schemes will be continued in the current year also. The state government has been implementing Gramodaya Programme, for decentralized grass-root level planning and implementation of projects in rural areas, which will be strengthened further. The total Budget Outlay of the Department for the year 2004-05 has been kept at Rs 38.39 crores, excluding Central Share of CSS provided directly to DRDAs.

RD (Panchayat)

20. The Government remains committed to develop and strengthen the Panchayati Raj Bodies as vibrant institutions of Self-government. The next General Election is going to be held shortly for constitution of new Panchayats on the expiry of their present term. With a view to strengthen the Panchayati Raj Bodies as vibrant institutions, devolution of funds was continued like earlier years. Through the process of Gram Sansad and Gram Sabha, transparency has been brought in the functioning of the Institutions. For increasing the production in the field of Agriculture and allied sectors, a large number of projects like creation of micro-irrigation sources, land levelling and development, creation of orchards, supply of agri-implements and inputs, development of pisciculture have been taken up with the help of PDF and SGRY Funds. Women’s role in the Panchayati Raj Administration has been consolidated further. For capacity building, training programmes were organized for elected women representatives. Total Budget Outlay of the Department for the year 2004-05 is Rs 78.90 crores.

21. For upholding the democratic spirit of the Cooperative Societies, elections were conducted in 660 Societies. Special emphasis has been given for recovery of bank loans from the loanee members. A proposal has been sent to the Govt. of India for recapitalisation of the Societies taking care of the bad loans. Special emphasis has been given to clear up the pending audit of accounts of different Cooperative Societies. Audit of Accounts could be completed in respect of 227 LAMPS/PACS and PMCS out of total 283 during last year. The TSCB Ltd. Disbursed ST/SC loan for an amount of Rs 1349.25 lakh upto October 2003. A 3,000 MT capacity new Cold Storage of the TAMCS Ltd. At Badharghat is going to be commissioned shortly. The Budget outlay for Cooperative Society for the year 2004-05 is Rs 8.32 crores.

Agriculture (including Horticulture)

22. Agriculture being the backbone of the economy of the State, continues to get very high priority from the Government. During the year 2003-04, the Department took many significant steps for implementation of the Perspective Plan for achieving self-sufficiency in foodgrain production. Productivity of foodgrains has increased to 2,278 kg. Per hectare from 2,123 kg per hectare in 1999-2000. Consumption of plant nutrients increased to 30 kg per hectare during 2003-04 from 26 kg in 2002-03. To promote consumption of fertilizers, 141 licences were issued during the year. Steps were taken for production of hybrid paddy seeds. Production base of high-yielding variety paddy seeds has been further expanded through registered growers. Seed replacement rate has been increased to 15% in 2003-04 as against 9.4% during earlier year. To improve Jhum cultivation, assistance was provided to 6,379 jhumia families, along with training. The Government had taken steps during past few years to increase the cold storage capacity in the State – both under the Government as well as in the Private sector. In last 5 years, 5 new cold storages have been set up including 1 (one) under Private sector. The Department has taken up the plan for construction of one more multi-chamber cold storage at Melagarh. Total Budget outlay of the Department for the year is Rs 55.85 crore.

23. Horticulture is also a very high priority sector for development. A Perspective Plan (2002-12) has been drawn up for the purpose. Under this Plan, implementation of several programmes/schemes for area expansion, transfer of technology, production of quality planting materials, farm mechanisation, promotion of mushroom cultivation, soil conservation and watershed projects continued during the year. Fund available under Water-shed Development Scheme, Technology Mission and Macro-management Programme are being utilized for this purpose, in addition to the State Plan Allocation. Total Budget outlay of the Department for the year 2004-05 is Rs 24.85 crores.

Animal Resource Development

24. Animal Resources Development Department has been engaged in rendering quality veterinary health care services throughout the State, to protect the livestock wealth as well as to provide improved breed variety of piglets, goat kids, rabbit kits, chicks, ducklings, quail chicks, etc to the progressive farmers to augment production and promotion of self-employment, as targeted under 10-Year Perspective Plan (2002-2012). During 2003-04, Department could tap considerable CSS/NEC funds to the tune of Rs 767.10 lakhs. The Department successfully conducted 17th Livestock Census through out the State and collected valuable data, which is in the process of compilation. The Budget outlay for Animal Resource Development Department for the year 2004-05 is Rs 32.05 crores.

Fisheries

25. Phased implementation of the Perspective Plan for achieving Self-sufficiency in Fisheries by 2012 continued during the year. Under the Plan, research and development activities, storage facilities, increase of fish production by adoption of latest techniques, improvement of marketing infrastructure etc. are being promoted. Special thrust has been given to train the fishermen under different pisciculture activities. Total 4,728 fish farmers were trained. About 14.64 hectares of new water area was created and 28.80 hectares of existing water area was reclaimed. For the welfare of the poor fishermen, assistance being provided for dwelling houses, insurance coverage and construction of Community Halls. The Budget outlay for Fisheries Department for the year 2004-05 is Rs 11.83 crores.

Forest

26. With the active participation of people and the Department, Joint Forest Management Programme was intensified. An area of 54,000 hectares of Forests was brought under JFM, involving 18,218 households. To increase the tree cover beyond traditional forest areas, tree farming on wastelands in 3,647 private holdings was taken up under Angan Ban Prakalpa during 2003-04 covering an area of 620 hectares. Under Soil Conservation Programme, 12 lakh mandays were created in remote areas. Additional 153 hectares of rubber plantation was raised during the year 2003-04 through TFDPC, for rehabilitation of Jhumias. Under Integrated Forest Protection Scheme, sanction of Rs 11.37 crores was received during the year 2003-04. The Department is putting emphasis for development of bamboo resources and medicinal plants as a means of livelihood. The Budget outlay for Forest Department for the year 2004-05 is Rs 40.80 crores.

PWD (Road and Buildings)

27. The State Government remains committed to the improvement of road network for socio-economic development of the State. During the year, construction of 3 RCC bridges at Salema, Kakri and Indranagar was completed. 30 bailey bridges and 15 RCC culverts were also completed and another 21 RCC bridges are in progress. Upgradation of 145 km long Halahali-Gandacherra-Belonia road, with total project cost of Rs 139 crores, is in progress. Despite some difficulties, the Department has taken all possible steps to expedite execution of works under PMGSY. The Department has submitted project proposal to the World Bank and Asian Development Bank for road development in the State. Another Project has been submitted to the Government of India for development of roads in the Border areas under BADP, Regarding Buildings, the Construction of new Assembly Building and New Secretariat Building is progressing and construction of Convention Complex, High Court Building and State Guest House have been taken up. Construction of Dhalai District Complex near Ambassa is also progressing; Construction of new building of Tripura Bhavan at Salt Lake has been completed. The Budget outlay for PW (R&B) Department for the year 2004-05 is Rs 260.54 crores.

PWD (Water Resources)

28. The Hon’ble Members are aware that our Government has attached very high priority to creation of irrigation potential through optimal exploitation of water resources in the State. During year 2003-04, construction was taken up for 182 irrigation projects, out of which 92 were in TSP areas and 21 in SCP areas. During the year, 135 projects were commissioned and the rest were in different stages of execution. Pipeline was laid for 625 Km. Total additional irrigation potential created during the year was 5,438 hectares. Further, construction of Canal Systems in 3 Medium Irrigation Projects (Gumti, Khowai and Manu) is in progress. The Muhuri Irrigation Project, which will irrigation command area pf 1,950 hectares, is also in progress. In Flood Protection Sector, 21 Projects have been taken up in Manu, Longai, Dhalai, Khowai, Feni and Howrah. Clearance has been received from the Govt. of India for taking up flood protection work for Khowai, Kamalpur and Belonia towns. The Budget Outlay for PWD (WR) Department for the year 2004-05 is Rs 63.73 crores.

PWD (Public Health Engineering)

29. Public Health Engineering Wing of PWD is entrusted to provide piped water supply in urban and rural areas in the State. During year 2003-04, work for construction of treatment plants have been taken up at Kumarghat, Khowai, Amarpur and Teliamura, Further, 61 deep tube wells were sunk, out of which 21 were in tribal areas and 8 in SC area, 8 Iron Removal Plants were commissioned and construction of 23 more is in progress. 14 Overhead Tanks have been commissioned and construction of 26 more is in progress. To accelerate execution of work for sinking of deep tube wells, 4 Deep Drilling Rig machines are being procured for four Districts. The Budget outlay for PWD (PHE) Department for the year 2004-05 is Rs 58.28 crores.

Tribal Welfare

30. With a view to ensure socio-economic development of the tribal population of the State, the Hon’ble Chief Minister had announced a new Tribal Development Package called "HIMSWKANG" on 15 Sept. 2003. The Tribal Welfare Department is coordinating implementation of this Package. Special initiatives have been taken for implementation of re-grouping of tribal villages in different clusters along the main road. Under Education Sector, stipends, scholarship and other incentives ere provided to 2,44,320 ST students. Residential Schools were started at Khumulwng in West Tripura and Birchandra Manu in South Tripura. Ashram School at Bhuratali in South Tripura was completed and two such schools at Ambassa and Kanchanpur are nearing completion. Construction of 9 ST Boys/ Girl’s hostels has also been completed and maintenance/ repair has been done in 21 Hostels. Under Economic sector, 327 nos. Jhumia families were rehabilitated through Rubber, Tea and Coffee Plantation and 915 Jhumia families received spill over Grants, 20 ST girl students re sponsored to Kasturi School outlay for TW Department for the year 2004-05 is Rs 72.06 crores.

Welfare of SC, OBC and religious Minorities

31. The Government announced 15-point Special Development Package for the Scheduled Castes, 10-point Special Package for OBC and 9-point Special Package for Religious Minorities in December 2003. These packages are now being implemented. Significant achievements of the Department during the year 2003-04 include Sanction of Loan to 950 families from SC Development Corporation, Stipend/ Scholarships to 46,247 SC students, Dr B.R. Ambedkar Memorial award to 798 students, stipends/ scholarships to 50,047 OBC and 779 Minority students, etc. The Budget outlay for Department for the year 2004-05 is Rs 18.12 crores.

Industries & Commerce

32. The Government is making determined efforts for development of industrial infrastructure and promotion of Industries in the State. The Growth Centre at Bodhjungnagar is almost complete. Already 8 units have started commercial production in this Centre. The Work of construction of Food Park is going on and the work of Construction of an Export Promotion Industrial Park will start this year. Other industries estates will also be renovated n a phased manner. TNGC has started expanding network of piped natural gas supply system with target to provide connections to 30,000 households. Trade with Bangladesh through Land Custom Stations is growing steadily. The Department is placing a lot of emphasis on promotion of self-employment. Under PMRY, 2,904 cases were sanctioned during 2003-04 involving a total amount of Rs 2134.11 lakhs. Under Margin Money Scheme, total disbursement during 2003-04 has been Rs 552.20 lakhs to 219 borrowers. Under Swavalamban Programme, the State Government has started providing assistance to the entrepreneurs, who had cross the upper age limit for government employment. For expansion of scope of industrial training, 4 new it is are going to be made functional soon. For re-structuring of the PSUs, it is decided to prepare Re-structuring Plans through Professional Agencies and the work has already started. Total Budget Outlay of the Department is Rs 30.97 crores.

Industries & Commerce (Handloom, Handicrafts and Sericulture)

33. The Department has continued to provide support to the weavers and artisans in development of their skills, infrastructure, raw materials, working capital and marketing under different schemes/ programmes and agencies. Construction of Handloom Marketing Complex at Agartala is nearing completion. Under Sericulture Sector, plantation area and coverage of beneficiaries have been increased. Common Sikkim Processing Unit and Grainage Projects are also nearing completion. Handicrafts Sector is being developed through implementation of Women Handicraft Project, UNDP Project and other Projects. Under a Project for Export-oriented Development of Handlooms and Handicrafts sanctioned by Ministry of Commerce & Industry and being implemented with the help of the Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts, export of handicrafts from Tripura has started for the first time during 2003-04. Similarly, another project called "OLOM" has been taken up with the help of Mumbai-based prominent designers and an exhibition held at Mumbai under this project in December 2003 was a grand success. Further follow-up of the Project is being done. Total Budget outlay for Industries and Commerce (HHS) Department is Rs 13.49 crores.

Information Technology

34. The Government has continued its efforts to harness the potential of the Information Technology for creating job opportunities and improving the living condition of the people. The Community Information Centres are being utilized for providing citizen-centric services. Efforts are being made to set up Tripura State Wide Area Network. A Software Technology Park Hub Centre is going to be set up, with support of Ministry of Communication and Information Technology. Total Budget outlay for Industries and Commerce (IT) Department is Rs 2.76 crores.

Urban Development

35. The Urban Development Department is implementing various projects for increasing the quality of life of people living in the urban areas. Housing, supply of drinking water, solid waste management, and development of roads, markets and transport infrastructure, providing of street lighting facilities, slum development and establishment of sanitary toilets and parks are the main activities of the Department. Execution of work for improvement of roads, drainage and solid waste management in Agartala town through NBCC has been expedited. To provide urban services to the people, certain areas surrounding Agartala Municipal Council and Udaipur, Sonamura, Kamalpur, Ranirbazar and Khowai Nagar Panchayats have been included in the concerned urban Bodies. The state government has been implementing Nagarodaya Programme, for decentralized grass-root level planning and implementation of projects in urban areas, which will be strengthened further. As a result, additional population of 1,97,286 has been included in the urban areas of the State. Total Budget outlay for Department is Rs 17.13 crores.

Education (School Education)

36. During 2003-04, various steps were initiated to consolidate the task of imparting education to all. Steps have been taken to enrol all out-of-school children through formal and informal schools. During 2003-04, the Department undertook the work of starting 250 Primary Schools, upgradation of 550 Primary Schools to Upper Primary School, construction of pucca building of 92 Primary Schools and 19 Upper Primary Schools, Construction of 400 additional class-rooms, providing toilets to 200 Primary and Upper Primary schools and drinking water source to 180 Primary and Upper Primary schools. The State Govt. has already accepted most of the recommendations of the Tripura Education Commission and a New Education Policy is on the anvil. Changes will be made in the existing Curriculum/ Syllabus from the year 2005. The present public examination system will also undergo a change, so that the students of the State are in a position to compete on a better footing, at the All India Level. During 2004-05, total amount of Rs 49.44 crores has been proposed for undertaking various activities under Sarva Siksha Abhiyan Programme. Maximum thrust will be given to retain the students in schools and to upgrade the capacity of teachers for imparting quality education. Total Budget Outlay of the Department for the year 2004-05 is Rs 473.64 crores.

Education (Higher Education)

37. The Government has taken several steps for promotion and expansion of higher education. New courses in Business Administration and Master of Computer Application were introduced in the Tripura University. Three new Diploma Level Course in Food Processing Technology, Interior Decoration, Handicrafts and Furniture Design and Auto-mobile Engineering were introduced in Polytechnic Institute, Narsingarh. Women Polytechnic Institute started functioning. The Government is encouraging setting up of educational institutions in the private sector. A Bill for setting up of a university under private sector was passed in the last session of the Legislative Assembly. Total Budget Outlay of the Department for the year 2004-05 is Rs 46.01 crores.

Youth Affairs and Sports

38. Talented sports persons of the State have brought laurels to the State at National and Regional Level Competitions during the year 2003-04. During the year, sports persons of the State had won 11 gold medals, 44 silver medals and 47 bronze medals in various sports events. One Sports Hall at Kanchanpur and two new buildings at Sports School Complex were constructed during the year. Development of infrastructure at College Outlay of the Department for the year 2004-05 is Rs 14.94 crores.

Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism

39. The Department continued its activities for dissemination of information to general public. Awareness Campaign were continued to promote various social and developmental issues. Cultural festivals wee organized. Cultural troupes of various communities re sent to different places. To attract tourists, efforts have been intensified for development of infrastructure. Three tourist lodges at Kailashahar, Pilak and Manubankul would be commissioned during current year and construction of another three tourist lodges at Dharmanagar, Teliamura, and Mahamuni is in progress. Sound and Light show at Nirmahal has been commissioned during year 2003-04. Total Budget outlay for Department is Rs 11.49 crores.

Social Welfare & Social Education

40. The Government remains committed to ensuring the welfare of the senior citizens, women, children, destitute, disabled persons etc. During the year 2003-04, 60,251 old age persons, 200 Bidi Shramik and 4,747 disabled persons were covered under Pension Schemes, 1,53,939 children and pregnant and lactating women were covered under SNP and Balahar Programmes. Under National Family Benefit Scheme, 272 families were covered. 2,400 adolescent girls were covered under Kishori Shakti Yojana and 5,000 girls were covered under Balika Samridhi Yojana. The Department has been running 13 Homes/ Institutions providing benefit to 571 inmates. Implementation of 9-point Programme for achieving 100% literacy, universal immunization, sanitation and drinking water supply in all the schools was started. Total Budget of the Department for the year 2004-05 is Rs 83.85 crores.

Health & Family Welfare

41. The Government attaches high priority to providing health care facilities to the people. The Government is making all possible efforts to establish a Medical College in the State under Private/ Government sector. For providing quality medical service, OPD and Pathological Laboratory Facilities were commissioned in the newly-constructed Super Speciality Hospital. Construction of Building for Dr. P.B. Das Memorial Diagnostic Centre is nearing completion. This may be commissioned in the current financial year. For upgradation of Bimal Sinha Memorial Hospital, Rs 47.00 lakh has been sanctioned. Blood Storage facilities in Belonia Hospital and Blood Components Separation Unit in G.B. Hospital were commissioned. Construction of Building for expansion of IGM Hospital is expected to be completed by March 2005. First phase of a separate unit for treatment of Diabetic Patients at G.B. Hospital was commissioned. Construction of 40-bedded Eye Hospital at Hapania is under progress. Upgradation work of RIPSAT is nearing completion. One more Primary Health Centre at Dhan Bilash has been commissioned during the year. The Department had taken steps on war footing to fight outbreak of diarrhoea and malaria. The Budget outlay for Health Department for the year 2004-05 is Rs 120.96 crores.

Power

42. Initial steps have been taken for implementation of process of reforms in Power sector. Chairman of SERC has been appointed. Power Corporation is being set up. One gas-based thermal generating unit of 21 MW capacities at Rokhia has been sanctioned by Government of India during 2003-04 under Non-lapsable Central Pool of Resources. Another unit of same capacity at Baramura is under active consideration for sanction/ funding through NEC. Both these units would be commissioned within a period of 24 months from the date of commencement of work. Preliminary works of 280 MW gas-based Power Project at Monarchak in Sonamura Sub-Division have been taken up by NEEPCO. For improvement of transmission and distribution of power, several projects have been executed during 2003-04. The Department took special drive to check power theft, which has resulted in substantial improvement in revenue collections. The Department has taken special initiative to replace defective meters and to provide meters to all consumers in a phased manner. Revenue collection during year 2003-04 was 71.00 crores, which was 20% higher than the previous year. The Budget outlay for Power Department for the year 2004-05 is Rs 254.86 crores.

Labour

43. The Department has been taking initiative for protection of rights of the working class, provided under various Acts and Rules. During 2003-04, 48 cases of industrial disputes were received, out of which 44 disputes were settled through tripartite meetings. For welfare of the tea and rubber plantation worker’s children, the Department is running 22 Balwadi Centres including Nutrition Programme. Implementation of ‘Asanghatita Shramik Sahayika Prakalpa’ is being consolidated and expanded. Total Budget outlay for Labour Department is Rs 2.08 crores.

Food & Civil Supplies

44. For smooth implementation of PDS/ TPDS and other various food security and poverty alleviation schemes in the state, infrastructure is being strengthened. The supply of PDS/ TPDS commodities to the consumers/ beneficiaries under different poverty alleviation schemes such as AAY, Annapurna, SGRY, MDM, SNP etc. is being maintained all over the state. During the year, total 2,95,000 BPL families were being supplied rice @35 kg per family per month at special subsidized rate. Moreover, under expanded AAY, additional 22,700 families would be covered out of the existing BPL families. Total Budget outlay for the Department is Rs 10.09 crores.

Transport

45. The long-cherished aspiration of the people of Tripura was fulfilled, with introduction of Agartala-Dhaka Bus Service from 22 Sept. 2003. Extension of runway7 of Agartala Airport has been completed. Jet Airways has started its flights covering Agartala. Work for extension of railway line from Manu to Agartala is in progress. State Government is providing all possible support for expediting the work. Computerised system for issue of Smart Card for driving licence was introduced in the office of Deputy Transport Commissioner. The Govt. of India has been requested to take up the proposal at appropriate forum for linking Agartala with Trans-Asian Highway/ Railway Network as also for taking up the issue with the Bangladesh Govt for providing transit. Total Budget outlay for Transport Department is Rs 10.14 crores.

Home (including Jails)

46. During the year 2003-04, the general law and order situation in the State not only remained under control, but also showed remarkable improvement. Recently, a good number of extremists belonging to two groups of NLFT have surrendered. The State Government has reiterated its request to the Government of India for urging Bangladesh Government to take action on the line of action taken by the Bhutan Government against the Indian extremist hideouts in Bangladesh. The State Government has continued its efforts to modernize State Police forces and strengthening of infrastructure of Police stations and other institutions. A new TSR Battalion viz. 10th TSR Bn. was raised during year 2003. A proposal for modernization of Police Training Institute is under consideration.

47. Regarding Prison Administration, Several steps have been taken for Modernization of the same. Site for setting up of Central Jail at Bishalgarh has been selected. Construction of Sub-jails in Longtharai Valley, Kanchanpur and Gandacherra Sub-Division has been taken up.

48. New Fire Stations were opened at Kunjaban and Ranirbazar. Further, new Fire Stations are proposed to be set up at Kalyanpur, Damcherra, Hrishamuch, Silachari and Chawamanu in near future.

49. Total Budget Outlay of the Home (Police) Department is Rs 259.83 crores, Home (Fire Service) Department Rs 11.41 crores and Hoem (Jail) Department Rs 12.18 crores.

Law

50. The construction of new High Court Building at Capital Complex has been taken up. The construction of Judicial Courts in Kanchanpur, Longtharai Valley and Gandacherra has also been taken up. Our endeavour for setting up of a separate High Court in Tripura will continue. As part of continued programme, the Department has been organizing Legal Literacy Campaign and Lok Adalats. The Budget Outlay of the Department is Rs 13.27 crores.

Receipts and Expenditure during 2004-05

51. Hon’ble Members, I will now mention about the position of receipts and expenditure, as contained in the budget proposals.

State Revenues

52. The Revised State’s Own Tax revenue for the year 2003-04 has been estimated at Rs 225.00 crores, which is 22.89% higher compared to the revenue during 2002-03. The revised State’s Non-Tax Revenue for the year 2003-04 has been estimated at Rs 120.00 crores, which is 21.54% higher compared to the revenue during 2002-03. During 2004-05, the revenue collection figures are estimated at Rs 295.00 crores for Own Tax Revenue and Rs 160.00 crores for Non-Tax Revenue.

Receipts from the Central Government

53. Receipts from the Centre consist of Share of Central Taxes, Non-Plan Gap Grants, other Central Transfers on account of Non-Plan and Plan. I am now giving the position of receipts during year 2003-04. Under share of Central Taxes Res 320.00 crores was received during year 2003-04 against EFC estimate of Rs 417.00 crores, against Non-Plan Gap Grant Rs 481.57 crores was received against due amount of Rs 555.87 crores. On account of other Central Transfers, receipt during the year 2003-04 was Rs 75.53 crores under Non-Plan and Rs 754.93 crores under Plan. In the current financial year, anticipated receipt on account of Share of Central Taxes has been taken at Rs 380.00 crores on the basis of Finance Ministry’s projections. I would like to mention here that as per EFC recommendation the flow on this account was supposed to be Rs 456.48 crores. On account of Gap Grant estimated receipt has been calculated as Rs 615.00 crores. This includes anticipated receipt of withheld gap grant of Rs 225.00 crores from year 2002-03 onwards. Anticipated Receipts on account of other Central Transfers for Non-Plan and Plan have been calculated at Rs 94.96 crores and Rs 769.54 crores respectively. Receipts on these two items have been calculated on conservative estimate on the ground that the full Union Budget is yet to be placed and the Plan Size of the current year is yet to be finalized with the Planning Commission.

Overall Position of Receipts and Expenditure

54. As per revised estimates, size of Budget of the year 2003-04 was Rs 3008.88 crores. Total Budget size for the current financial year is Rs 3182.93 crores. In this respect, I like to apprise the Hon’ble members that the Revised Estimates for the year 2003-04 were prepared, anticipating receipts of withheld gap grant for the year 2002-03. But, ultimately due to unreasonable attitude of the then Central Government, the Finance Ministry declined to release the said withheld gap grant. As a result, requited fund as per revised estimates could not be provided fully to the Departments as per RE. Thus, expenditure in the year 2003-04 compared with RE remained lower to some extent.

55. In the Budget of current financial year, anticipated receipt is calculated as Rs 3097.18 crores. This includes receipt of entire withheld gap grant of Rs 225.00 crores from the Ministry, higher borrowing of market loans etc. The anticipated expenditure of the Budget is calculated as Rs 3182.93 crores. Thus, there is deficit of Rs 85.75 crores in the Budget. This deficit is expected to be covered by taking steps of securitization of a portion of outstanding dues, higher realization of State’s own revenue, anticipated increase in normal man assistance after finalization of plan size and through austerity measures and improved financial management.

56. The position in brief is:

(Rs in crores)

(A) Revenue Account

 

1. Receipts

2515.19

2. Expenditure

2215.70

3. Deficit (-)/ Surplus (+)

299.49

(B) Capital Account

 

1. Receipts

398.41

2. Disbursements

967.23

3. Deficit (-)/ Surplus (+)

-568.82

(C) Public Account (net)

280.00

(D) Total Receipts: (A1)+(B1)+(C)

3193.60

(E) Total Expenditure: (A2)+(B2)

3182.93

Deficit (-)/ Surplus (+)

10.67

Opening Balance

-96.42

TOTAL: Deficit (-)/Surplus (+)

-85.75

 

57. The programmes and policies that I have outlined above will provide added impetus to our efforts in the direction of economic development and faster pace of growth. I seek the cooperation of this August House and the people of the State in this endeavour.

58. Sir, I now commend the Budget Proposals for 2004-05 for the consideration and approval of the August House.

 

 

 

 

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