Manipur State Budget 2018-19 which was tabled in the ongoing State Assembly in Imphal on Monday has evoked mixed reaction from the experts in the State.
Most of experts felt that the Budget which was presented by the deputy Chief Minister Y Joykumar who holds finance portfolio in the Assembly on Monday, is a positive budget considering the state’s economy.
The budget estimate of Rs 13,733.62 crores (including Rs 5602.56 crores for pay and pensions) was presented for the year 2018-19.
“We are aware that Manipur is currently facing shortage of resources over the last decade,” says Dr Thiyam Bharat Singh of Centre for the Study of Social Exclusion & Inclusive Policy (CSSEIP), Manipur University.
“This budget accords priority to education, health, skill development programmes and tourism by proposing higher expenditure on these sectors,” he added.
This is indeed a good step, Dr Bharat added.
“But the budget does not mention about the Act East Policy which are currently being discussed in public forums. The most stagnant part of the budget is that it does not explore on the mobilization of internal resources by revising own-tax and non-tax revenues. However, it determines to provide the matching share for centrally sponsored schemes,” he felt.
According to Prof Damudar Nepram of Economics Department, Manipur University, the Budget gives more focus on austerity steps.
“So it may not be able to fulfil the expectations of the general public,” he opined.
“For instance the demand for implementation of the seventh Pay Commission was not reflected in the State Budget 2018-19. It also shows that the State has very limited resources,” Prof Nepram said.
It may be mentioned that the various bodies of the state government employees have been demanding implementation of the seventh Pay Commission recommendations in the State.
However, the State Finance Minister Joykumar clarified that the State Government is currently in the process of working out the feasibility and financial implication on the implementation of the seventh Pay Commission in the State.
The state requires a sum of Rs 1,400 crore annually to implement the new pay scale of the 98,000 state government employees.