Tripura Budget Speech 2005-2006

Mr. Speaker Sir,

With your kind permission, I rise to present the Budget for the year 2005-06.

2. At the outset, I would like to express and record Government's deep sorrow on the loss of lives, property, and livelihood caused by the Tsunami tragedy. I request Hon’ble Members to join me in conveying our condolences to the families of those who had lost their lives in the tragedy. I also pay my homage to the members of Central and State Forces and the public who had laid down their lives in fighting terrorists and anti-national elements. Tsunami tragedy has taught us some lessons in human relations and co-operative endeavor. Reaffirming faith in humanity and deep sense of fellow feeling, people from all walks of life within the country and also from abroad contributed generously to the aid efforts. It has given us warning for augmenting our Disaster Management System. Considering its importance, our Government has started taking several steps for building up a reliable Disaster Management System in the State.

3. National Economic scenario

3.1 I am presenting this Budget in the backdrop of prevailing socio-economic policy level framework at the national level where two different approaches are at work. One approach is to further accelerate and consolidate the policy of globalization, liberalization and privatization as advocated by IMF and WTO. As a result of implementation of this policy, domestic entrepreneurs, specially small and medium category are gradually losing their share in the market. It is for this reason that there has been decline in growth opportunity for employment in the Country resulting in widespread unemployment. Confronting this anti- people policy, the Left Front Government is advocating for adoption of alternative approach which is more humane and pro-poor. The main thrust of the alternative approach is to enhance production in agriculture and industries particularly in manufacturing sectors, expand trade and services to ensure optimum generation of employment. Due to the policy of indiscriminate liberalization of imports, an unequal competition has been imposed upon the domestic industries specially under small and medium scale sectors. For survival of these local industries and to reduce this unequal competition, the Left Parties advocate that reasonable time and facilities should be provided to the domestic producers. Further, for containing monopolistic tendency of private sector and enable fair competition, the Central Government should retain its share and control over the core profitable Central Public Sector Undertakings.

3. 2 It is observed that the Union Budget of 2005-06 is more focused on globalization, liberalization and privatization. However, there are some reflections of the alternative approach enunciated by the Left Parties. We appreciate reflection of a few welfare approaches in the Budget in the spheres of rural employment generation, development of rural infrastructure, expansion of education and health programme. But in respect of dilution of social control over Banking, Insurance, Aviation and Telecom sectors, we strongly oppose the policy of the Centre as these are not in the interest of the common people. Regarding small scale industries, we cannot support the policy of the Central Government for large scale withdrawal of facilities of reservation on production of different industrial items. The Central Budget allocation provided for small scale sector is also insignificant. The Left Parties demand that UPA Government should implement the Common Minimum Programme in right earnest for the benefit of the common people. Under the above backdrop it has become necessary to mobilize public opinion in a democratic manner, so that pro-people policies are accepted and implemented by the Central Government in the larger interest of the Nation.

4. State's financial Scenario- TFC award and implication.

4.1 Last year, while presenting the Budget I had mentioned about serious financial problem which the State had to face in past few years mainly due to adverse award of the Eleventh Finance Commission and imposition of MTFRP conditions. Cumulative loss on this account alone was over Rs.1200 crore. Under this backdrop we had submitted our proposals before the Twelfth Finance Commission seeking appropriate redressal of injustice done to the State. Now I would like to apprise the Hon'ble Members, in brief, about proposals submitted by the State Government before the Twelfth Finance Commission, its award and consequential implications on our State.

4.2 The salient features of the proposals submitted before the Twelfth Finance Commission from the State Government were:-

i. To increase the share of States in the Central taxes to 33.33% from earlier 29.5% with specified minimum guaranteed devolution.

ii. To modify the inter-se distribution formula giving more emphasis on income-distance; infrastructure index and State specific factors.

iii. To consider realistic projections made by the State Government in Non-plan Revenue expenditure while assessing gap grant.

iv. To provide special grants to meet the expenditure of pending installments of D.A. and D.R. to the employees and pensioners and merger of 50% D.A./D.R.

v. To provide a special Debt Relief Package for writing off the entire outstanding loans,

vi. To provide funds under AIBP and REP as 90% grant and 10% loan.

vii. To provide liberal grants for Local Bodies.

viii. To replace the existing MTFRP with an attractive incentive scheme based on factors under control of the State Government.

ix. To provide liberal grants for infrastructure development under the scheme of Up-gradation and Special Problem.

4.3 Twelfth Finance Commission had partially addressed to our proposals while giving its award. Sharable Central tax increased only marginally from 29.5% to 30.5%. But inter-se devolution formula went against our interest. As a result, the State's share over total sharable Central Taxes declined from 0.487% to 0.428% from EFC to TFC. The State had projected pre-devolution Non-plan Revenue deficit of Rs. l 1,263.99 crore (after adjustment of State's own revenue) plus additional grant for meeting expenditure for release of balance installments of DA & DR and merger of 50% DA & DR as per formula applicable to Central Government employees. Against this pre-devolution gap, the TPC had recommended Rs. 5494.20 crore as gap grant and projected availability of share of Central Taxes as Rs.2626.09 crore. With these two together, gap of Rs. 8120.29 crore will be covered leaving a shortfall of Rs.3143.70 crore without factoring into the impact of release of pending installments of DA/DR and merger of 50% DA. Now it has become a serious problem for the State Government how to meet this large revenue deficit gap.

4.4 Twelfth Finance Commission has not provided any grant for health and education sectors to our State although total grant of Rs. 16,058.73 crore provided to 8 and 7 States respectively. In respect of other items such as maintenance of assets, grants, to Local Bodies and State specific needs, grants awarded are too small compared to our projections. In respect of debt relief and corrective measures, a number of stiff conditions have been imposed. Besides this, loan provided by the Central Government against small savings has been kept out from the Debt Relief Package- Over and above, portion of loan which the State used to get from the Government of India along with grant under formula 90 : 10 ratio will be dispensed with from current financial year. As a result, annual flow of fund as a long term soft loan from Government of India under formula 90 : 10, to the tune of about Rs.125 crore will dry up for our State. Expressing concern over growing debt burden of the State, the Commission has fixed a highly stiff target for improvement of debt GSDP ratio. But declared Debt Relief Package of the Commission is too small for achieving such high target. Further expressing concern on growing trend of increase in salary expenses, the Commission has advised the States to bring down the ratio of salary expenditure to revenue expenditure to the level prevalent in 1996- 97. So from over all points of view, a gain of the State from the Twelfth Finance Commission award is partial and transitory and on certain issues not beneficial to the State and therefore, would leave adverse impact.

5. Fiscal consolidation and restructuring

5.1 While assessing the financial positions of the Centre and the States, the Twelfth Finance Commission has fixed a number of milestones for improvement of certain fiscal indicators through consolidation and restructuring of Public Finance. States have been asked to enact Fiscal Responsibility legislation covering target for improvement on certain fiscal indicators viz. a) elimination of revenue deficit, b) containing fiscal deficit within given limit, c) long term plan for reduction of debt GSDP ratio, d) containing percentage of interest payment relating to revenue expenditure within given limit, e) bringing out annual statement on economy and fiscal strategy, f) bringing out special statement about employees profile etc. Enactment of this legislation is the first pre-condition for availing the benefits of Debt Relief Package-

5.2 Under the above backdrop I would like to declare Government's intention for introducing following proposals for fiscal consolidation and restructuring of the State Finance: -

i) A Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Bill will be introduced in this Budget Session. The Bill will indicate Government's desire and commitment for achieving certain important milestones on fiscal indicators in the medium term.

ii) The State Government will soon take steps for creation of Guarantee Redemption Fund and enhancing the Sinking Fund with the RBI.

iii) Steps would be taken in the current financial year itself to settle the outstanding liabilities of the past committed expenditure of different Departments in two installments.

iv) Attempts would be made to provide reasonable allocation in the Budget so that maintenance and up- keeping of assets is not affected for want of fund.

v) A considered wage employment policy will be finalized keeping in view resources available and parameters fixed in the Fiscal Responsibility Legislation for phased implementation.

vi) Subject to containing yearly increase of salary expenditure within limit of 10%, attempt would be made to address the issues of release DA and DR to the employees and pensioners of the State Government in such a manner so that the existing gap is squared up in next few years. Hon’ble Members will be happy to know that as a first step for providing benefit to the employees Government declares withdrawal of present system of impounding of 12% DA in the GPF account from 1st June 2005.

vii) The State will strive to remain revenue surplus by making a balance in Revenue Receipt and Expenditure and build up increased surplus as per target fixed by the Twelfth Finance Commission to facilitate availing the debt write off and incentive package.

viii) The State had not availed any overdraft in last seven years which is a unique record. Even Ways & Means Advance was availed rarely during these years. Financial and cash management will be further improved and consolidated so that the State may continue to avoid availing of Ways & Means Advance, not to speak of availing of any overdraft in ensuing year also.

ix) Sustained efforts would be made to reduce the existing percentage of Debt Stock in relation to GSDP. All possible steps will be taken to achieve the milestone fixed by the Twelfth Finance Commission on revenue account improvement to derive benefit of Debt Relief Package.

x) Efforts will be stepped up for boosting State's own revenue generation with emphasis on better compliance of provisions of existing Acts/Rules and streamlining of collection machinery, so that tax GSDP ratio is increased by 1% from present level during the TFC period.

xi) Under the process of decentralization, responsibility for running certain utility services will be handed over to the Local Bodies.

xii) Steps will be taken to expedite reforms and restructuring of PSUs to improve their financial position. A high level Committee will be constituted to look into the revival of PSUs in a time bound manner. I like to announce here that the PSUs which are earning net profit as per updated balance sheet will be allowed to release DA to its employees as per rates provided to the State Government employees.

xiii) With involvement of Banks, better package will be offered to the employees for availing house building and other advances.

xiv) State Government expresses his serious concern about poor CD ratio of Public Sector Banks. Even schemes like SGSY, PMRY, other Self-employment Scheme and issue of KCC have been adversely affected due to poor performance of the Banks. State Government will pursue vigorously with Government of India and the RBI to take steps for significant improvement of the performance of the Public Sector Banks.

6. Developmental Objectives - Thrust Areas

6.1 Hon’ble Members, I now re-affirm our belief and conviction in State Government policy on major developmental objectives which are as follows:-

a) Gradual removal of poverty, enhancement of income and improving quality of life of the people specially poor and down trodden;

b) Improvement of facilities of infrastructure with focus on roads, irrigation, power and drinking water;

c) Consolidation and extension of facilities in social sectors with emphasis on education, health, child care, gender equality, and assistance to old-age persons;

d) Accelerate pace of increase in production in Agri & allied sector with target to achieve self-sufficiency in food, fish and animal originated products as per perspective Plans;

e) Promotion of trade, industries and services with main focus on self-employment;

It is through these thrust areas the Government is trying to accelerate employment generation in a sustainable manner.

7. Employment

7.1 Our Government is against the policy of job loss growth as well as jobless growth. The Central theme of the State Government's policy is to ensure growth with optimum creation of job. Since scope for creation of large number of jobs (other than wage employment) directly under Government sector is limited, the State Government is encouraging creation of jobs in private sector and through self-employment. However, overcoming the hurdles of resource constraints and conditions imposed by the Finance Commission and Centre, the State Government is planning to recruit a few thousand unemployed youths in five year period starting from the current financial year. It is noticed that in different trade/grade/fields there is shortage of qualified manpower in Government Departments. On the other hand, in certain trade/grade & fields there is surplus manpower. It is observed that in the five year TFC period total 13,392 employees will retire. A considered employment policy will be finalized keeping in view resource availability and parameters fixed in the Fiscal Responsibility Legislation for phased implementation. Pending finalization of such employment policy, it is expected that about 3000 unemployed will be provided job in the Government sector during current financial year. Regarding regularization of services of DRW workers, Government will take steps to consider regularization of those workers who were engaged with the prior concurrence of the Finance Department and have put in 17 years of service in the Government Departments upto 31st March 2005 within this financial year. In respect of providing wage employment to workers under different employment generation schemes, it is expected that about 225 lakh of mandays would be generated in the current financial year. For generation of employment in urban areas, I am happy to announce launching of a new State Sector Scheme in this year within the limited resources of the State Government. To begin with, I propose to allocate a sum of Rs.150 lakh for this purpose in the current financial year.

7.2 Regarding self-employment, about 4000 youth other than Self-Help Groups are expected to be covered under different self-employment schemes in the current financial year.

8. Gender Budgeting

The State Government is committed to ensure protecting the interest of women and girl child. Keeping this in view, it is proposed to include gender budgeting in this year's Budget proposals. To begin with, nine development Departments viz. Education (School & Higher), SW&SE, Agriculture, ARDD, RD (including Panchayat); Health & Family Welfare, Tribal Welfare, UDD; SC/OBC 85 Minorities have been identified who will ensure spending total fund of Rs, 149.82 crore in the current financial year for providing different benefits to the women and girl child. A statement in this respect is enclosed in the Budget at a glance.

9. Agri & Allied Sector

9.1 Hon'ble Members are aware that 374th of the population of the State depends on Agri 8s allied sector for their livelihood and about 30% of the GSDP is contributed from this sector, the State Government accords high level of priority for rapid development of this sector. With this objective; four perspective plans - for Agriculture, Horticulture, Animal Resource & Fisheries have been taken up for implementation.

9.2 In order to achieve the targets under the perspective plan of Agriculture, emphasis has been given on different activities viz. (i) extension of irrigation facilities, (ii) use of improved quality seeds, (iii) balanced use of fertilizer, (iv) extension & training, (v) diversification of crops, (vi) development of infrastructure for storage and marketing, (vii) extension of insurance coverage and providing of credit. The gains and achievements made in last four years are being consolidated. For achievement of targets as per perspective plan during current financial, year, implementation of different programme has been taken up. Budget allocation has also been substantially enhanced for this purpose.

9.3 Under the perspective plan of Horticulture, different programme have been drawn up in the current financial year viz. (i) higher production of quality planting materials, (ii) extension of area under Horti. crops on cluster basis, (iii) stepping up of training programme, (iv) creation of water bodies, (v) assistance for vocational training, (vi) soil and moisture conservation. Implementation of these programmes will generate significant employment opportunities in the rural areas.

9.4 Under the perspective plan for development of Animal Resource in the State different programme have been drawn up during the current financial year viz. (i) expansion of Artificial Insemination activities network in all 40 Blocks, (ii) setting up of 400 small and 40 medium dairy projects in rural areas with involvement of entrepreneurs, (iii) extension of fodder cultivation in all Blocks, (iv) promotion of layer variety birds in farmers' premises, (v) strengthening of disease diagnostic system in field level institution, (vi) revitalization of Training Institution. Implementation of these programmes will also generate employment opportunities in the rural areas. To support implementation of these programmes. Budget allocation has been increased significantly.

9.5 Under the perspective plan for development of Fisheries in the State, emphasis have been given to optimum utilization of water areas in a scientific manner for pisi-culture through demonstration, training and entrepreneurship development. During year 2005-06 the Department has drawn up different development plans viz. (i) 4 (four) model Aqua-culture villages (ii) setting up of four water testing laboratories, (iii) five feed mixing plants (iv) training of 4,900 fish-farmers, (v) entrepreneurship development for the SHGs, (vi) supply of basic inputs, (vii) breeding and propagation of alternative varieties. Implementation of these programmes will further generate employment opportunities in the rural areas. Budget allocation have been increased significantly to support implementation of these programmes.

9.6 Under Forest Sector priority has been accorded to expansion of Joint Forest Management on degraded forest land. In the current financial year programme has been drawn up for bringing 6000 hec. of land under aforestation. With involvement of TFDPC and other implementing agencies 900 hec. of additional land will be brought under Rubber plantation in the current financial year. The Department has also drawn up plan for development of bamboo resources of the State.

9.7 To uphold the democratic spirit and ensure accountability of management towards members of the Co-operative Societies, elections were conducted in 700 societies. Emphasis has been given for conducting audit of accounts of LAMPS/PACS/PMCS. For revival of sick LAMPS & PACS in a phased manner, an additional fund of Rs. 100 lakh is provided in this year's Budget.

9.8 Smooth supply of food grains and other essential commodities under PDS/TPDS and Other Welfare Schemes including SGRY and NFWP will be continued, infrastructure is being strengthened. Buffer stock is being built before onset of the monsoon with persuasion and cooperation of concerned Ministry, FCI, Railways and IOC Ltd. Construction of new building for the Directorate is expected to be completed this year.

10. Education & Health

10.1 School Education: - 100% enrollment of children, development of infrastructure, reduction of drop outs, providing of amenities and improvement of quality of education are the corner stone of the Government policy on universalization of elementary education for all children. Funds available under State Plan and Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan are being utilized for achieving these objectives. During current financial year 93 new Primary schools, 4 High/Higher Secondary schools will be started. Construction of 171 Primary schools, 103 upper primary schools and 37 other Institutions will be taken up during the current financial year. Besides this, toilet and drinking water facilities will be extended to 224 and 190 Primary and upper-primary schools respectively. Maintenance grant, teacher's grant, grants for disabled children and providing of text-book will be continued. As a part of 100% enrollment and retention programme, 10,500 additional children have been targeted to be enrolled in Primary to Secondary stages. Existing infrastructure of four Higher Secondary schools namely Shishu Bihar, Tulsibati, U.K. Academy & Budhjung Girls will be further developed for providing better education facilities and enrollment of additional students.

10.2 Education (Higher):- Several programmes have been drawn up/being drawn up for promotion and expansion of Higher Education in the State. These includes (i) completion of development project of Tripura University, (ii) introduction of two new disciplines namely Electronics and .Telecommunication in Tripura Engineering College, (iii) completion of construction of building and procurement of articles in Women's' College, Tripura Engineering College, Women Polytechnic Institute, Law College, (iv) construction of building for Netaji Subhash Mahavidyalaya, Udaipur (v) completion of construction of 8 Public Library buildings, (vi) Development & modernization of MBB College Central Library, (vii) providing of ERNET connectivity in Tripura Engineering College, (viii) expansion of programme under NSS & NCC, (ix) setting up of Institute of Management & Technology at Tripura University, (x) construction of building for Government Art & Craft College.

10.3 Youth Affairs & Sports:- With a view to expand the activities of the Department, allocation in the Budget has been enhanced. The important programme taken up by the Department for implementation in the current financial year are (i) taking up construction of Indoor Stadium at Badharghat, Gymnasium at Agartala, 10 play fields in rural area, (ii) augmentation of facilities in the Sports School at Badharghat, (iii) extending of quality coaching facilities in. various disciplines at Block and District level, (iv) promotion of sports in rural and urban areas through Sports Council.

10.4 Health & Family Welfare:- Government also attaches high priority to providing improved health care facilities to the people. It is a long cherished dream of the people of the State to have a Medical College in the State. Keeping this aspiration of the people, preparatory steps have been taken for setting up of two Medical College - one under Government sector and another under private sector. With a view to provide high quality diagnostic services, Dr. P.B. Das Memorial Diagnostic Centre at Agartala is going to start its function within this financial year. MRI machine being installed in G.B. Pant Hospital is also going to provide service shortly. Construction of 150 bedded District Hospital at Dhalai, upgradation of Sub-Divisional Hospital at Bishalgarh and Hospital at Khumulwng will be taken up during this year. Several steps have been taken to consolidate and improve health care services. To achieve these objectives, Budget allocation of the Department has been substantially enhanced.

11. Infrastructure

11.1 Roads & Buildings: - Development of infrastructure specially road communication is extremely important for a land locked State like ours., Government is aware of the fact that development of the State largely depends on good network of roads. In the past few years adequate funds could not be provided in the Budget for maintenance and up-gradation of roads due to resource constraints. Hon'ble Members will be happy to know that in the current financial year Budget allocation for the Department for maintenance and up-gradation has been increased substantially. I hope that with this increased allocation, the Department will be able to liquidate its committed liabilities and make significant improvement in up-keeping and development of existing road network and buildings. The important programmes which are proposed to be executed by the Department during current financial year are :

i) Road formation for - 50 km, brick soling -125 km and carpeting/re-carpeting- 200 km.

ii) Under PMGSY it has been targeted to- complete road formation in 90 km, brick soling in 90 km and carpeting in 70 km during current financial year.

iii) Out of 32 major RCC bridges already taken up, 13 will be completed. Another 26 number of major RCC bridges are proposed to be taken up in the current financial year. In addition, 100 number of SPT bridges will be replaced by box/slab culverts and bailey bridges.

iv) Initiative taken for preparation of architectural drawings, estimates, designs through computerization. Mechanization of road construction, tender reforms, setting up of Testing Laboratory are ., other initiatives taken by the Department.

v) I am happy to announce that in the Budget proposal Rs.25.0 crore has been provided for setting up of 17 Growth Centre in the State. Work for the projects will start shortly.

11.2 Water Resource:- During current financial year plan has been drawn up for achievement of following targets:

i. Bringing additional 11925 hec. of land under irrigation through Medium, Minor and Micro Irrigation Projects. Out of total 1,17,000 hec. irrigable land, 79037 hec. have already been brought under irrigation. A three-year programme has been drawn up to bring remaining irrigable area under assured irrigation. The programme will be implemented jointly by PWD(WR), RD. Agriculture and TTAADC.

ii. Expediting construction of canal system of three medium irrigation projects.

iii. Completion of construction of 7 number of diversion scheme including two number high power L.I. Scheme.

iv. Taking up 6 new diversion scheme and 4 number high power L.I. Scheme.

v. Execution of flood protection works in three border towns in the bank of rivers Khowai, Dhalai and Muhuri.

vi. Execution of 14 deep tube well irrigation projects.

11.3 Drinking Water:- Providing of safe drinking water to the people is the primary responsibility of the State Government. PHE Wing of PWD is entrusted to provide piped water supply in urban and rural areas. Responsibility for supply of drinking water through spot sources in rural areas is entrusted to RD Department. During current financial year 80 numbers of deep tube-wells are proposed to be sunk. Priority has been given to provide Iron Removal Plants with all deep tube-well projects where iron contamination is above 50%. The Department has also drawn up plan for completion of construction of four Mini Treatment Plants and take up 9 such new plants in the current financial year. Four high capacity Rig Drilling Machine are being procured and these will be put into use in current financial year mainly to cover sinking of deep tube-wells in hilly areas. Fund has been provided in the Budget for setting up of Water Testing Laboratories in all Districts & Sub-divisional towns.

11.4 Power:- Power is one of the key sectors of infrastructure. Considering its importance and past performance, Government had drawn up plan for restructuring of Power Sector in the State. Accordingly, State Regulatory Commission and Power Corporation have been set up. To achieve the desired objectives of the reforms process, it is expected that Corporation would soon take necessary steps. With a view to provide the Corporation a clean slate, Government had taken liability to settle all past dues. Over and above. Government support for setting up of new generating projects, system improvement, extension of L.T. lines etc. is also continued. With these support, it is expected that the Corporation will soon become financially viable and reach at break even point. For augmentation of generating capacity, one 21-MW capacity Gas Thermal Generating Unit at Rokhia is expected to be commis stoned in February 2006. Government is attempting to obtain early sanction from NEC to set up one additional 21-MW capacity Unit at Baramura. Besides this, NEEPCO has taken up construction of 280-MW capacity project at Manarchak. Another proposal for setting up of a 750-MW capacity generating unit with collaboration of ONGC and IL&FS is on the anvil.

11.5 Transport. Following important projects are proposed to be taken up for implementation during current financial year:-

(i) Construction of inter-state bus terminus at Chandrapur and International Bus Terminus at TRTC.

(ii) Construction of 12 motor stands at different places in the State.

(iii) Setting up of Vigilance and Enforcement Wing.

(iv) Consolidation of computerization of different activities in the transport offices.

12. Welfare Sector

12.1 Welfare for the Tribal:- Socio-economic development of the Tribal population of the State is another priority area of the Government. Providing of stipends, scholarship, merit awards, sponsoring of students outside the State for training and study, providing book-grants, outfit allowance, coaching of Madhyamik drop-outs, construction of hostels and residential schools, including 4 schools of primary stage, providing of job as per rosters, housing, economic rehabilitation of families, implementation of Special Areas Based Projects are the key activities for overall development of the Tribals. All these activities will be continued in the current financial year under the 37-Point Package. Recently election of the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council has been held. The newly elected Council members will soon take over their offices. Government will provide required support for strengthening of the Council in its effort to undertake comprehensive and rapid developmental activities in the District Council areas.

12.2 Welfare for SC,OBC & Minorities: - For welfare of SC.OBC and Religious Minorities, important programmes which will be implemented in the current year are (i) providing of stipend to 1 lakh students, (ii) construction of four hostels - one at Anandanagar for SC, two at Krishnanagar, Agartala for OBC & Religious Minorities and one at Ambedkar hostel complex for SC and vulnerable group, (iii) construction of common facility centre for leather artisans, (iv) development of area based project, (v) assistance for self-employment and rehabilitation, (vi) providing of vocational training, (vii) construction of houses for vulnerable groups, (viii) financial assistance for self-employment of washer men. With focus on these programmes, the 33 point package will be implemented.

12.3 Social Welfare & Social Education:- The Government remains committed to ensure welfare of women, children, senior citizens, disabled and destitutes. From January, 2005 23,560 additional beneficiaries have been covered under National Old-age Pension Scheme. Under National Family Benefit Scheme, 1180 beneficiaries are targeted to be covered. Besides this, department will continue to provide benefits to women 65 children under Kishori Shakti Yojana, Balika Samriddhi Yojana and SNP Scheme. Visually and physically handicapped persons will continue to be covered under pension scheme. Construction of 640 Anganwadi Centers will also take up. Fund has also been provided in the Budget for construction of Working Woman Hospital at Agartala.

13. Rural Development:-

One of the important focuses of the State Government is rural development for improvement of quality of life of the rural people. Through implementation of different schemes, benefits viz. wage employment, house for the poor, providing of drinking water, sanitation, development and maintenance of infrastructure, promotion of Agri and allied activities, self employment and promotion of SHG etc. are extended to the rural people. During current financial year following major targets have been taken up for implementation:

i. Generation of man days - 200,00,000

ii. Construction of house for BPL - 13,000

iii. Self employment - 800 SHQs with about 8000 Swarozgaris

iv. Coverage of families under - 75,000 sanitation

v. Creation of spot water sources - 2300

14. Local Bodies

14.1 Development through decentralization and empowerment of the people are some of the basic policies of the State Government. With these objectives, the Government remains committed to develop and strengthen the Local Bodies as vibrant Institutions of Self-Governance. Devolution of funds to the Local Bodies has been raised in the Budget proposal of 2005-06 compared with preceding year. For augmenting flow of fund from different Central Schemes and from external agencies, several steps are being taken by the Government.

14.2 PRIs will continue promoting Agri & allied activities, generation of wage employment and self-employment, development & maintenance of rural infrastructure by utilizing Panchayat Development Fund. Further steps will be taken for making the functioning of PRIs more transparent. PRIs will be encouraged to generate its own resource for meeting a part of operation and maintenance cost of assets with cooperation of the people. I am happy to announce that honorarium/salary of office bearers of the PRIs will be increased this year for which provision in the PDP has been increased.

14.3 Improvement of infrastructure, promotion of opportunities for trade, business and self- employment, providing of basic services like supply of drinking water, roads, sanitation, drainage, transport & health service are the priority objectives for development of urban sector. Several initiatives have been/are being taken in this direction. Budget allocation has been increased for implementation of these objectives. The Urban Bodies have also taken initiatives for augmenting collection of their own resources- I have already mentioned earlier that new State sector scheme for employment generation in urban areas will be launched this year. I like to mention a few important projects which are proposed to be completed/taken up in the current financial year in the urban areas :

i. Completion of construction of shopping centre at Durga Chowmuhani and Maharajganj Bazar.

ii. Completion of construction of Kalapania - Aukhoura drainage.

iii. Taking up of execution of construction for improvement of Agartala city roads under Phase-11.

iv. Taking up of construction of shopping complex at Ranir bazaar, Kailashahar and Sonamura.

v. Bringing 4 lakes of Agartala town under National Lake Conservation Plan.

vi. Major investment in Nagar Panchayats for improvement of roads, drainage and water supply.

vii. Preparation of comprehensive master plans for Nagar Panchayats.

viii. Taking up of construction of city centre at Agartala.

ix. Persuasion for sanction of project for development of Agartala town with special emphasis on newly included areas under ADB funding.

15. Industries, Commerce & Services

The Government has taken number of initiatives for development of industrial infrastructure and promotion of industries in the State. Promotion of self employment is also one of the major objectives of these initiatives. Besides continuation of normal programme and activities, following important programmes will be implemented in the current financial year:

i. Under PMRY and MMS Scheme 3250 entrepreneurs are targeted to be sponsored.

ii. Construction of Food Processing Park at Budhjangnagar and Tea Processing Factory at Dhalai for small tea growers will be completed.

iii. New Rubber Processing Centre will be commissioned by TFDPC.

iv. New ITI at Dharmanagar will be functional.

v. Initiatives continue to be taken for setting up of CNG Project in the State.

vi. City gas distribution system will be further extended.

vii. Revamping of PSUs will be intensified.

viii. Implementation of Women Handicafts Project and Special SGSY Project will be expedited.

ix. Initiatives will be taken for development and export of handicrafts and handlooms products.

x. Training programme for weavers will be intensified further.

16. Information, Culture and Tourism

For dissemination of information to general public, promotion of cultural activities and tourism, following important programmes proposed to be implemented in the current financial year along with usual activities:

(i) 160 Lokrananjan Sakhas will be revived.

(ii) Inter-state cultural exchange programmes will be organized for exposure of artists of ethnic people.

(iii) Organization of cultural workshops in remote areas.

(iv) Construction of multi-purpose cultural complex at Agartala.

(v) Development of tourism infrastructure at different places.

17. Home

17.1 During 2004-05 law 8s order situation in the State have shown remarkable improvement. Number of hardcore extremists had surrendered. Budget provision for modernization and up-keeping of State force has been increased substantially in this year's Budget proposal. Two new TSR Bn. - one of which an IR Bn. will be raised in this year. Steps are being taken to expedite completion of construction of BN HQs of the TSR. Earmarked fund is being provided to the TSR BNs for meeting expenses of treatment for the TSR Jawans who are attacked with malaria. State Government is pursuing vigorously for early completion of work of barbed wire fencing. The State Government has also asked the Government of India to provide required assistance and support for minimizing hardship of displaced people in the border belt.

State Forensic Laboratory is being strengthened and modernized. Required fund support is being provided in the Budget.

17.2 Several initiatives have been taken for modernization of Prison infrastructure and administration. Preparatory work started for construction of Model Central Prison of 1,000 inmates capacity at Bishalgarh, District Jail (300 inmates capacity) at Ambassa, three Sub-jails at Kanchanpur, Gandacherra and Lonthorai Valley, construction of staff quarters in different Jails/Sub-jails. Computerization of works in Jails/Sub-Jails also has been started. Budget of the Department has been increased quite significantly for meeting diet expenses.

18. Tax proposal

18.1 Mr. Speaker, Sir, I shall now present the State's tax revenue position and proposals. Hon’ble Members are aware that our State has certain inherent constraints due to geographical isolation and narrow resource base. Despite this fact, there is urgent need for mobilizing additional revenue to make available resources for various Plan projects/schemes identified by the State for the welfare of people. TFC has also advised the States to improve tax GSDP ratio. It is a fact that compared with many advanced mainland States; our tax GSDP ratio is lower. But considering backwardness of the State in general and high percentage of BPL families in particular, the Government can also not impose heavy burden of tax upon the public. Keeping both factors into consideration, the focus of Government's policy is to increase revenue collection through expanding tax payer base, better compliance, making tax administration more efficient and by introduction of a modern and improved tax system. With this objective in view, steps have already been taken to introduce Value Added Tax (VAT) under a uniform frame-work from 1st April 2005. Under the system, burden of tax on commodities is likely to be less as tax paid on inputs is set off against the tax payable on output tax collection. For operationalizing the new system Tripura VAT Bill has been passed in the Assembly during its last session. The Department has taken several steps to sensitize the business community by organizing workshops/seminars etc. The process is continuing. A Consultative Committee is being constituted to suggest removal of bottle necks and wrong perception besides interpretation problems if any in implementation of the new system. In addition, a Facilitation Centre will also be set up in the office of Commissioner of Taxes for redressal of grievances.

18.2 Tax structure on certain commodities like liquor, medicines etc. has been rationalized recently. These steps are likely to yield additional revenue.

18.3 Collection of State's own tax revenue in the year 2003-04 was Rs.221.46 crore. In the RE of 2004-05 the target of collection was fixed as Rs.254.35 crore. In the BE 2005-06 the total receipt is expected to be Rs.307.50 crore which is 21.3% higher than RE of preceding year and in terms of GSDP it would be around 3.4%.

18.4 Major portion of our State's non-tax revenue came from power tariff. But after setting up of Power Corporation this revenue will not be credited to the Government's account. As a result, in the current year's Budget proposal power tariff revenue has not been reflected. Although overall anticipated receipts from Non-tax revenue will decline due to above factor, yet higher collection is expected from other items. Besides additional revenue of Rs.5.00 crore is expected from 'On-line Lottery.' Government has decided to utilize revenue collected from this particular source for generation of self-employment and infrastructure development in rural areas. Total revenue expected to be received under Non-tax account during 2005-06 is Rs.66.50 crore.

19. Anticipated Receipts from Central Government

Receipt from Central Government consists of share of Central tax, Non-plan gap grant and other Central transfers on account of Non-plan and Plan. I am now giving the position of anticipated receipts on these accounts during 2005-06. From share of Central taxes receipts anticipated is Rs.391.34 crore. Under Non-plan gap grant State is expected to get Rs.1041.91 crore. On account of other Central transfers under Non-plan and Plan, receipts anticipated is Rs.884.27 crore. Besides this, total fund of Rs.323.32 crore is expected to be received as grants from other sources such as CSS, CP, NLCPR and NEC during the year.

20. Annual Plan

20.1 Hon’ble Members may recall that Budget for the year 2004-05 was presented before finalization of Plan size with the Planning Commission. Subsequently the Planning Commission had unilaterally fixed the State Plan size at Rs.700.27 crore without discussion with the State Government. The State Government had voiced its reservation on such unilateral and unusual step of the Planning Commission. As a result of State Government's persuasion the Plan size was subsequently revised to Rs.725.36 crore. But unfortunately, a large portion of tied funds of the State Plan under different items were released from the Ministries only in the last fortnight of March 2005 and hence the concerned Departments got little scope to utilize most of these funds within the financial year. Funds released by the Ministries in the last fortnight of March have been carried forward in the current financial year for utilization. Such carried forward funds have been reflected in this year's Budget.

20.2 Hon'ble Members are aware that the Government had increased budget allocation of Bidhayak Alaka Uyanayan Fund from Rs. 3 crore to Rs.4.5 crore in the last financial year. I am happy to announce that this allocation is now further enhanced to Rs. 6.0 crore in the current financial year. Now every MLA will have his discretion to execute work upto Rs.10.0 lakh in his constituency every year. The guidelines of the scheme have also been made more flexible.

20.3 Plan size for the current financial year has been fixed as Rs.804.00 crore after discussion with the Planning Commission. While finalizing the Plan size it was presumed that flow of Government of India's loan under formula 90:10 ratio will continue as usual. But subsequently, with the acceptance of TFC report, the system of providing 10% loan under above formula has been withdrawn. As a result, resource availability for the State Plan has come down. Despite this hurdle, in the Budget proposal Plan size has been kept higher for boosting the developmental activities of the State. The size of State Plan in the Budget proposal is Rs.922.44 crore. This includes the carry forward tied funds of Rs.172.73 crore of 2004-05. Regarding allocation of tied funds among the Departments, I like to clarify that total allocation under BADP, ACA & RSVY have been temporarily kept in Demand No.34 of Planning & Co-ordination Department. Fund under these sources will be reallocated against concerned Departments of the State Government after approval of projects by the Planning Commission/concerned Ministries.

21. Overall position of Receipt & Expenditure

21.1 Budget Estimate of the year 2004-05 was Rs-3182.93 crores. In this respect, I like to apprise the Hon’ble Members that the Budget Estimate for the year 2004-05 was prepared in anticipation of receipt of entire amount of withheld gap grant. But, ultimately the Finance Ministry took an unreasonable attitude and declined to release the said withheld gap grant of 2002-03 and 2004-05. As a result, fund anticipated to be received as per Budget Estimate had not materialized on this account. This shortfall in availability of resources had compelled us to defer settlement of many committed expenditures and compress the size of RE.

21.2 In the Budget of current financial year, anticipated receipt is calculated as Rs.3653.40 crore. The anticipated expenditure in the Budget is calculated as Rs. 3689.13 crore. This will leave a deficit of Rs.35.73 crore in the Budget. This deficit is expected to be covered by availing benefit of Debt Relief Package and improved financial management.

21.3 The position in brief is:

(Rs. in crores)

(A) Revenue Account

1. Receipts 2994.84
2. Expenditure 2680.67
3. Deficit (-) /Surplus (+) (+)314.17

(B) Capital Account

1. Receipts 407.25
2. Disbursements 1008.46
3. Deficit (-) / Surplus (+) (-)601.21

(C) Public Account (net) 225.00

(D) Total Receipts: (A1)+(B1)+(C) 3402.09

(E) Total Expenditure: (A2)+(B2) 3689.13

Deficit (-) / Surplus (+) (-)287.04

Opening Balance 251.31

TOTAL : Deficit (-) / Surplus (+) (-)35.73

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

21.5 Sir, I now commend the Budget Proposals for 2005- 06 for the consideration and approval of the august House.




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