Tripura Deputy Chief Minister Jishnu Debbarma on Tuesday presented a Rs 16,387.21 crore tax-free Budget for financial year 2018-19 in the State Assembly.
Tabling the Budget on the first day of the Assembly session, Debbarma, who holds the Finance portfolio, said that there is no deficit in the Budget.
He, however, proposed increase of sales tax on petrol by two per cent and on diesel and piped natural gas by one per cent each.
Besides, the new Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led alliance government levied cess on turnover at the rate of two per cent on the three fuels.
The first Budget of the BJP government also marginally increased road tax, except for three wheelers and electric vehicles.
In the Budget which has a 14.62 per cent increase over the revised estimates of last fiscal (2017-18), he announced eight new schemes while broadening scope many ongoing schemes and projects.
In his over two-hour-long budget speech, Debbarma proposed that four new B Ed Colleges would be set up in the State to provide pre-service training to the teachers.
Debbarma also proposed to constitute The Tripura Infrastructure and Investment Fund Board to boost industrialization in the State beside single window system for all necessary clearances to set up industrial units and for all approvals.
He also announced that several awards would be introduced soon to encourage meritorious youths in the field of education, sports and culture, to recognize outstanding work of the civil servants and to boost the quality education by teachers.
The BJP government would launch new pension schemes for the new state government employees who would join in the government service from July this year.
The State Government has decided to distribute free smart phones to college students studying under-graduate degree in the government degree colleges.
A lump-sum amount of Rs 1,000 crore has been earmarked in the Budget to implement the recommendation of the Seventh Central Pay Commission for Tripura government employees.
As per the pre-poll promise of the BJP, the government in March has constituted a three-member expert committee headed by former Assam Chief Secretary P P Varma to implement the much-demanded 7th Central Pay Commission proposals in the State for over 2.15 lakh government employees and pensioners.
In the budget, Debbarma also said that ‘Distress Paras’ (distress habitat) would be identified in the interior and tribal areas to provide free ration to the people living there.
He said that Rs 300 crore has been allocated to implement the 33 social security pension schemes benefiting 4.22 lakh people that been launched by the previous Left Front government.
Meantime, Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb speaking to reporters said, “For the first time a deficit less budget has been tabled and which indicates that the State wants to be self dependent and I believe that every citizen of the State shall be proud of it. We have tried to overcome the Rs 1583 crore deficit that we inherited from the previous government and kept the money required for the 7th Pay Commission. This is the first step towards a self-dependent Tripura and for which I thank Prime Minister Modi, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Jishnu Debbarma, the Deputy Chief Minister and Finance Minister of Tripura.”
He also highlighted the introduction of ‘single window system’ for starting business and entrepreneurship in the State to encourage employment in the State.