Agartala, Feb 11 (IANS): Tripura Finance Minister Bhanulal Saha today presented a Rs 149.48-billion tax-free Budget for the 2015-16 fiscal with a deficit of Rs 1.89 billion.
No new taxes have been proposed and no increase of existing taxes projected in the Budget, presented on the fourth day of the month-long Budget Session of the State Assembly.
"We have planned to cover the budgetary deficit of Rs 1.89 billion by compressing non-development expenditure, stepping up of resource mobilisation, better tax enforcement and effecting austerity measures," State Finance Secretary Ashutosh Jindal told reporters after the Budget presentation.
He said: "By adopting a similar method, we have covered the current year's Budget deficit of Rs 1.58 billion."
Jindal said the State's share of Union taxes and duties in the coming financial year was expected to be Rs 18.90 billion against Rs 18 billion in the current fiscal.
Saha, presenting his first State Budget in the Assembly, said the measures would enlarge the scope of employment-generation in the State.
Speaking on the issue of NITI Aayog, he said: "Constitution of the National Institution for Transforming India Aayog to replace the Planning Commission is a regressive step which would further push the country into a market-driven economy and privatisation."
"Through the NITI Aayog, the Centre would force States to go in for public-private partnerships and to vie with one another to attract private capital to their territories, leading to the centralisation of economic powers and also deprive the special category States in the matter of mobilising resources for economic development."
The minister said the credit-deposit ratio of the banks in Tripura was 40 percent as against 75.9 percent at the national level and must be increased. "To uplift the economic conditions of women, the Tripura government has introduced the Gender Budget since 2005-06. Eighteen departments have been included under the Gender Budget and Rs 4.39 billion has been provided for the purpose."
Saha said the government would soon set up a new State university to boost higher education.
"The drastic reduction in allocation under MGNREGA has put the rural economy of Tripura under severe strain," he said, adding that the Union Rural Development Ministry had approved a Labour Budget of Rs 14.07 billion for the current year but the ministry recently informed that only Rs 6.52 billion would be made available to Tripura.