Sarkar has mixed response to BJP-led Tripura government’s first budget

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Agartala, June 21 (IANS) Former Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar, who is now Leader of Opposition in the Assembly, on Thursday appreciated some proposals of the BJP-led state government’s first budget while slamming some of its other provisions.

Deputy Chief Minister Jishnu Dev Varma, who also holds the finance portfolio, on Tuesday presented a Rs 16,387.21 crore tax-free, zero deficit budget for financial year 2018-19.

“I appreciate the state government for announcing the reservation of 10 per cent posts for the women in the police force.

“It is also good that the state government has decided to identify ‘distress paras” (distress habitat) to provide free ration to people in the interior and tribal areas,” Sarkar, who was state Chief Minister for 20 years (1998-2018), told the assembly.

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He also welcomed the state government’s decision to increase the number of generic medicine counters in different parts of the state, set up new educational and training institutions for B.Ed courses and increasing the rate of stipend for the students, especially for the tribals.

However, he said that the proposed Tripura Infrastructure and investment Fund Board for raising funds from private sector for taking up large infrastructure projects would not serve the interests of the people of the state.

“Those private investors would support the proposed Tripura Infrastructure and investment Fund Board they would mainly consider their interest and profit, not the welfare of the people. The Central government for many years has been stressing setting up of industries and various projects in the northeastern region under private-public-partnership. But, the plan was not fruitful for many reasons,” he added.

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Strongly criticising the budget proposal of increasing of sales tax on petrol by two per cent and on diesel and piped natural gas by one per cent each and imposition of cess on turnover at the rate of two per cent on the three fuels, Sarkar said that this would increase the already burdened people’s economic miseries.

He also demanded increase of allocation in agriculture, rural development, rural jobs besides person days in Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme.

Opposition Congress, however, squarely criticised the Bharatiya Janata Party’s first budget, claiming that the budget of the coalition government is unable to provide any relief to the people during the time of high inflation.

“The BJP led government’s Budget is nothing but a copy of previous Left Front government’s anti-people budget,” senior Congress leader Gopal Chandra Roy told the media.

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“At a time when country is suffering of high price rise of petrol and diesel, the state government, instead of decreasing the prices of fuel, has levied the cess on petrol, diesel and piped natural gas. Increase of sales tax on the three fuels would increase the economic suffering of people of all classes,” he said.

–IANS

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