Financial crisis: Tripura sends SOS to Centre

AGARTALA, Aug 21 – Tripura Government has sought financial assistance of Rs 14,600 crore from the Centre to tide over the unprecedented fiscal crisis triggered after announcement of 13th Finance Commission’s award. However, the State Government wants financial assistance as interest free loan and reimbursement to minimise the shortfall in the State’s committed liabilities during the tenure of 13th Finance Commission. The State Government on Tuesday published a white paper highlighting the ‘deprivation’. According to the white paper, the State had sought Rs 26,848.76 crore from the 13th FC to meet the non-plan expenditure for five years. “But the FC had awarded only Rs 16,349.13 crore resulting in a major shortfall in the State’s committed expenditures – salaries, pensions and interest on loan”, said State’s Finance Minister Badal Chowdhury at a press conference here on Wednesday. Chowdhury said, the FC conventionally fixes State’s non-plan expenditure on the basis of State’s last financial year’s liabilities but the 13th FC did not maintain it leading to sharp shortfall in the outlay. “In case of Tripura, the 13th FC had fixed the outlay on the basis of 2005-06 financial year (FY) in stead of 2009-10 FY”, he pointed out. Lamenting over the apathy to the State’s appeal for financial assistance, Chowdhury said, “We had met Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and tried to make him aware about the deprivation by the 13th FC but to no avail”, he said. Now, the State Government wants the Centre to lend a helping hand so that the problem could be tackled, Chowdhury said adding that it would have adverse impact on the State’s economy if the Centre doesn’t come forward with holistic approach. Chowdhury also criticised the Centre for putting cap on the State for borrowings to tide over the situation. “It is an attempt to put pressure on the State Governments which have not yet accepted the Centre’s Pension Rules and other anti-people decisions”, he said.