Agartala, Feb 25 (IANS) Tripura Deputy Chief Minister Jishnu Dev Varma on Monday presented a Rs 17,530.46 crore tax-free budget for 2019-20, containing several new schemes including providing two cows per family to raise milk production, free bicycles to girl students and a monthly payment to families with houses on roads to plant trees.
Tabling the budget on the second day of the session, Dev Varma, who holds the Finance portfolio, said that there is no deficit in the budget, the second presented by the Bharatiya Janata Party-led alliance government.
In his one-and-a-quarter-hour-long speech, he said that the “philosophy of the budget is collective action and inclusive growth” and with better tax management, the government would increase its own revenue in the coming fiscal (2019-20).
Dev Varma said that to increase India-Bangladesh border trade, infrastructure has have been developed along the border and the state government has proposed to the Central government to set up seven more “Border Haats”.
There are currently two “Border Haats” in southern and western Tripura.
“Following the constant persuasion by the Tripura government through the Central government, the Bangladesh government has allowed import of 11 restricted items (including natural rubber) through selected land customs stations of Tripura,” he said.
Dev Varma also said that state government is making serious efforts to develop Tripura as the information technology hub of northeast India.
He said that the government also proposes to develop 10 of the total of 58 less developed rural development blocks, where additional rice was distributed last year free among the distressed people, as “model blocks”.
Among other programmes, he said the process has been initiated for providing 10,000 cows (two cows per family) to women members of 5,000 families to boost milk production, while Rs 200 per month would be given to the families residing along the roads for maintaining roadside plantations which “would make Tripura a beautiful state and attract the tourists”.
For women’s empowerment, around 30,000 girl students studying in class 9 would be provided free bicycles, irrespective of their families’ income, he said.
Dev Varma also said that several awards were introduced to encourage meritorious youths in the field of education, sports and culture, to recognise outstanding work of civil servants and to boost quality education by teachers.
He said that as per the BJP’s pre-poll promise, the government has also initiated giving free smart mobile phones to all students who have completed their graduation.
He said that the rate of monthly pension would be increased to Rs 1,000 for the 30 social security pension schemes benefiting 4,05,175 poor and needy people. These pension schemes were launched by the previous Left Front government.
Dev Varma said that the Biplab Kumar Deb-led government has also undertaken a vigorous mission to make Tripura a “drug abuse free state”.
“During the past around one year, 63,074 kg cannabis, 1,88,099 bottles of cough syrup, 3,065 grammes heroine and 2.80 lakh Yaba tablets (a powerful stimulant) and 1.74 crore ganja seedlings have been seized or destroyed in a number of raids conducted across the state,” he said, adding 433 cases have been registered and 649 people arrested under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act from different parts of the state.
“With the curbing of drug-related activities, general crime and violence against women also declined to a substantial extent,” he said.