AGARTALA, March 20 - Tripura Deputy Chief Minister Jishnu Dev Varma, who also holds the Finance portfolio, today presented a Rs 19,891-crore budget, which is a 13.46 per cent increase over last year�s budget of Rs 17,530 crore.
The budget leaves an uncovered deficit of Rs 511 crore, which the Government intends to cover by higher mobilisation of internal resources and an austerity drive.
However, there is no new tax proposal in the budget.
Other highlights of the budget are a whopping 229.50 per cent hike in allocation for the Department of Information Technology, 52.79 per cent for the Department of Planning, 46.11 per cent for Forest, 37.98 per cent for PWD (DW&S), 37.91 per cent for Tribal Welfare (Research), 36.02 per cent for PWD (R&B) and 10.27 per cent for the Department of Agriculture.
Besides, there are announcements of constitution of the Innovation and Transformation Aayog of Tripura, and introduction of Tripura Beti Bachao Beti Padao Abhiyan and Chief Minister�s Fasal Bima Yojana.
While tabling the budget, Dev Varma announced that the Government would provide free sanitary napkins to girl students of classes VI to XII, incurring an annual expenditure of Rs 4.10 crore.
However, the budgetary support for implementation of these schemes has not been specified.
Dev Varma said the State Government was on course to make Tripura a model State and this endeavour of the State Government has been appreciated by the Centre.
The expenditure on payment of salaries, wages and pension takes away 44.68 per cent of the total budgetary allocation, while 10 per cent more is to be borne on interest payment and repayment of loans. It is only with the remaining 54.67 per cent that the State Government will have to cover its development expenditure which may not prove to be enough.
According to the Centre, Tripura has topped the good governance index among the North Eastern States.
Dev Varma said the reduction in the State�s share of Central taxes by 1 per cent, which is now 41 per cent compared to 42 per cent earlier, and shrinking of the divisible pool was due to higher allocations for internal security and defence.
The Deputy Chief Minister elaborated on the State Government�s vision to make Tripura a developed State. Budgetary allocations for different departments were justified in detail by Dev Varma.