Rs.152.46 billion tax-free deficit budget in Tripura

Agartala, March 18 (IANS) Tripura Finance Minister Tapan Chakraborty on Friday presented a Rs.152.46 billion tax-free budget for 2016-17 with a deficit of Rs.1.88 billion.

No new taxes have been proposed and no increase of existing taxes projected in the budget, presented on the first day of the budget session.

Chakraborty, presenting his maiden budget, said that with the improving electricity scenario in the state, Tripura is ready to supply 100 MW of power to Bangladesh and erection of 400 KV transmission line from Tripura to Bangladesh’s southern Comilla has been completed.

He also said that following concerted efforts, the anticipated food grain production in the coming fiscal expected to be 8.62 lakh ton against the current year’s 8.12 lakh ton.

“Tripura is the first state among eight northeastern states implementing the National Food Security Act, 2013 from September last year benefiting 25 lakh people. The beneficiaries are provided rice at the rate of Rs.2 per kg instead of Rs 3 per kg for which the state government is bearing subsidy of Re.1 per kg,” the minister said in his 70 minute budget speech.

Chakraborty said that to increase the bamboo production and boost the bamboo based industries, the state would introduce the Chinese moso bamboo and develop the mechanised system of bamboo plantation to increase its productivity from existing one metric ton per hectares to five metric ton per hactares.

“Locally available resources like rubber, bamboo, tea, natural gas, fruits, vegetables are identified as priority sectors for maximum value addition,” he said, adding that to promote utilisation of natural resources available in Tripura, the state government would increase the capital investment subsidy from existing 25 percent to 35 percent from next month.

As the Self Help Groups (SHGs) have been the economic backbone of the rural microfinance, the state government had launched Tripura State Support Project on SHGs, he said.

Chakraborty said that to promote sports in Tripura, the state government would launch a new scheme named “Rural Sports” in the next fiscal aiming boys, girls and youths of rural areas.

“Allocation of funds to various northeastern states by the ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) has to be equitable. Despite financial difficulties, the Tripura government would continue the pro-people approach towards the development and welfare of its citizens,” he added.

State’s Principal Secretary, Fiance, G.S.G. Ayyangar meanwhile said that they plan to cover the budgetary deficit of Rs.1.88 billion by compressing non-development expenditure, stepping up of resource mobilisation, better tax realisation and effecting austerity measures.”

“By adopting a similar method, we have covered the current year’s budget deficit of Rs.1.88 billion,” he said, adding the state’s share of union taxes and duties in the coming financial year was expected to be Rs.42.99 billion against Rs.18.90 billion in the current fiscal.

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