Sunday, February 25, 2024

Finance Minister admits Tripura plunges into fiscal crisis

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From Out Correspondent

 Agartala: Tripura Finance Minister Badal Chowdhury on Tuesday openly admitted the state government will face an uphill task to meet the expenditure of employees and pensioners in the days to come.

Talking to reporters at Civil Secretariat here, Finance Minister said that the first year of 13th Finance Commission period will be spent without much trouble in meeting the expenditure under salary and pension heads.

“The remaining four-year will be tough for the government to meet the Non Plan Revenue (NPR) expenditure because of less allocation by the 13th FC”, he said. Putting blame on the 13th Finance Commission, Chowdhury said that it had not allocated money as per the requirement of the state government leading to the unprecedented financial crisis.

Chowdhury pointed out that the 13th FC had not only allocated less allocation for the salary and pension expenditure, but also imposed strict conditions in getting outlay under different heads including state specific needs. “Though the 13th FC had sanctioned Rs. 500 crore under the state specific needs for Tripura, it would be tough for the state to comply the condition set by it”, he said. The FC in its recommendations had clearly mentioned that fund under the state specific needs would not be released unless the state implements FRBM properly.

Chowdhury also lamented at the way Finance Commission had fixed state’s outlay as special category state. “The 13th FC had allocated less outlay for the state with compared to the 12th Finance Commission which is unprecedented”, he claimed.

Finance Minister further claimed that the state government had demanded 50 percent share from Share of Central Tax (SCT) before the Finance Commission as the state implements various welfare schemes. “But the SCT has been enhanced from 30.5 to 32 percent”, he pointed out.

Chowdhury also took a dig at Opposition leader Ratan Lal Nath for putting question mark on publishing a Review Report over the recommendations of 13th Finance Commission. “The Review Report was published to clear the doubts over the deprivation by the 13th Finance Commission”, he claimed.

When asked about the advance payment, Chowdhury said that it was neither new nor unethical. “I don’t think Opposition Leader doesn’t understand the Budget. He did it- putting question mark on the advance payment to mislead the people”, he said. Manoj Kumar, Commissioner of Finance department later clarified the state has the power to allocate fund in advance. “The 13th Finance Commission had allocated Rs. 125 crore under the state specific needs for the current FY- 2011-12 and the state has release only 51.02 crore”, he added.

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