Agartala, Feb 19 IANS | 8 months ago

Tripura Finance Minister Badal Chaudhury Wednesday presented a Rs.124.04 billion tax-free budget with a deficit of Rs.1.58 billion for the 2014-15 fiscal.


No new taxes have been proposed and no increase of existing taxes projected in the budget, presented on the second day of the three-week session of the assembly.

The budget, which projected the state's own tax revenue at Rs.12.78 billion, planned to cover the budgetary deficit of Rs.1.58 billion by compressing non-development expenditure, stepping up of resource mobilisation, better tax enforcement and effeccting austerity measures.

"The Planning Commission has intimated that funds from the central government for 66 restructured centrally sponsored schemes (CSS) and flagships programmes, including the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, would be routed through the state budget from next fiscal," Chaudhury said in his hour-long budget speech in the house.

The state government would get Rs.28.29 billion under the CSS and the flagships programmes during the next financial year.

The CSS, after their restructuring, have been reduced to 66 from the previous 140.

He said the central government has taken a unilateral decision to provide the direct benefit transfer (DBT) to the beneficiaries of different social assistance programmes linked with the Aadhaar and bank account, and urged the centre to reconsider the decision.

"The banks of the hilly state like Tripura are lacking proper infrastructure to take up such huge programmes like DBT. The banks have been asked to open 82 new branches and 170 ATMs (Automated Teller Machines) so as to reach the goal of one branch for 2,000 people in rural areas in a phased manner," the minister added.

Chaudhury said the centre has not responded positively to the state government's request for enacting a comprehensive central legislation for regulating the unauthorised non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) and chit funds to protect the interests of the depositors and investors.

"After continued persuasion, the CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) has agreed to take up investigation only in a few cases and primary investigation has been initiated."

"The state government has once again requested the central government to ask the CBI to take up the probe of all cases registered by the Tripura government against the NBFCs," he added.

Unauthorised NBFCs have mushroomed in the northeastern region in recent years. These organisations take deposits from people by promising abnormally high rates of interest from 25 to 30 percent. After collecting the money, they shut down their operations and leave the area.

The NBFCs are not recognised by the Reserve Bank of India, the Insurance Regulatory Development Authority or the Securities and Exchange Board of India, and cannot do any monetary business or take deposits from people.

(Posted on 19-02-2014)

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