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Thursday, February 25, 2021

Tripura proposes tax free budget with Rs. 511.41 crore deficit amidst uproar, walkout by Oppn

Tripura Deputy Chief Minister Jishnu Devvarma said, "This proposal is of a realistic, development-oriented and tax-free. We have heavily increased allocations in different development heads. So, we have incurred some deficit".

Written by Debraj Deb | Tripura |
March 21, 2020 1:16:31 am
Opposition leader Manik Sarkar speaks with media at opposition lobby in state assembly on Friday. (Express Photo:

Tripura’s BJP-IPFT government Friday proposed a tax-free budget of Rs 19891.60 crore. However, the proposal showed a deficit of Rs. 511.41 crores, which the government expects to manage through proper fiscal management and tax planning.

Deputy Chief Minister Jishnu Devvarma, who also holds the Finance portfolio, presented the budget proposal which has a 13.46 per cent rise from the 2019-20 budget estimates. The previous budget had proposals of Rs 17,530.46 crore, though revised estimates showed supplementary grants of Rs. 2,747.11 crore.

Speaking in a media briefing, later this afternoon, Jishnu Devvarma said, “This budget proposal is a realistic, development-oriented and tax free budget. We have heavily increased allocations in different development heads. So, we have incurred some deficit”.

Asked how he plans to meet the deficit, the finance minister said proper tax planning, good fiscal management and good compliance would be followed to manage the shortfall.

The minister also claimed separate budgets were prepared for the first time for SC and ST communities this year. The budget estimates show a rise of allocations from Rs. 43580.11 lakhs from previous financial year to Rs. 51049.55 lakhs this year.

The finance minister said that allocation for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes were published as separate books thisbyear and claimed they were thus placed as separate budgets. However, these estimates were not placed separately by concerned ministers but together by the finance minister himself.

Among the other major changes introduced, the Finance Minister said State Planning Board is henceforth renamed as Innovation and Transformation Aayog of Tripura (ITAT).

The budget estimates have also proposed 19 new components including Chief Minister’s Poshan Abhiyan, Tripura menstrual hygiene scheme, Mukhyamantri Matrupushti Uphar etc.

The budget proposal was placed today amidst a huge uproar from opposition benches over an adjournment motion to discuss impending termination of 10323 school teachers.

10,323 school teachers including Graduate, Under Graduate and Post Graduate Teachers inducted in different phases since 2010 were terminated over faulty recruitment process by the Supreme Court in 2017. They were later re-inducted on ad hoc basis till March 31, 2020. Their service is scheduled to expire by next two weeks.

Opposition MLA and former education minister Tapan Chakraborty’s adjournment motion to discuss their termination and alternative action from government was rejected by Speaker Rebati Mohan Das.

In protest, all 16 opposition members raised slogans and staged protest in the well. The Assembly witnessed uproar as both ruling and opposition legislators were seen shouting ‘haay haay’ (shame, shame) at each other for some time.

Opposition members later staged a walk out from the House and abstained from participating in business for rest of the day.

In a media conference later today, Opposition leader Manik Sarkar criticized the Speaker’s decision to reject the motion and said ‘undemocratic activities’ were being done in the legislature.

Amidst severe protests from different factions of these teachers, education minister Ratan Lal Nath said two days back that his government would approach the Supreme Court to validate a move of recruiting them in non-teaching positions.

On the issue, Manik Sarkar alleged the state government is trying to deny the teachers facing termination their chance of retaining livelihood. “Recruiting in different positions is a prerogative of the government, central or state according to jurisdiction. Courts have nothing to do with it”, he said.

Reacting to the budget estimates, the opposition leader, “I will need to read the budget proposal before reacting. But I will say now that I haven’t seen a budget like this in last 35 years”.

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