Flights Of Fantasy

[ M Panging Pao ]
The annual budget for Arunachal Pradesh was presented on 8 July. The projected total revenue and capital receipts for 2019-20 is Rs 22,393.45 crore, as against the total receipt of Rs 21,301.83 crore for the year 2018-19. The state’s own estimated revenue generation is Rs 2,490 crore. The projected revenue expenditure has been fixed at Rs 13,406.78 crore, and the projected capital expenditure has been fixed at Rs 8,602.19 crore.
In the health sector, the good initiatives are the increased allocations for the Chief Minister’s Arogya Arunachal Yojana and the Mukhya Mantri Rogi Kalyan Kosh, which will benefit thousands of common Arunachalees. However, very few hospitals in Arunachal are empanelled; this means more patients have to travel to Guwahati, Dibrugarh, etc, for specialized medical care. Many patients travel to Dibrugarh for medical treatment. Very few hospitals are presently empanelled in these cities. The decision to upgrade the district hospitals in Aalo, Tezu, Khonsa, Bomdila and Ziro to general hospitals is also good news.
Other good proposals are setting up of wholesale market-cum-auction centres with e-NAM facilities in Pasighat, Namsai, Kimin and Bhalukpong. Most of our agri-horti products are sold to middlemen from outside the state at comparatively less prices due to lack of wholesale markets and cold storage facilities. Similarly, increased allocations for horticulture development, piggery development, fisheries and milk sectors will also help.
One of the major problems today is the rising unemployment among our youths. Towards generating more jobs there is a need for increased investment to promote new industries and tourism infrastructure. Though there are good initiatives like increased allocations for the CM’s District Innovation and Challenge Fund, introduction of the State Industrial Policy, 2019, for financial, technical and training support to small and medium enterprises, and subsidy to entrepreneurs availing loan under the Deen Dayal Upadhyay Swavalamban Yojana, the initiatives for promoting new industries could have been more. One of the key requirements for new industries is stabilized three-phased power supply to all industrial estates. Though electricity is in surplus in our state, the transmission lines fail frequently, leading to erratic supply. There is a need to strengthen the power transmission lines and provision of adequate transformers in the industrial estates.
Another good proposal is the increased allocation of funds for procurement of anti-riot equipment, surveillance, mobility equipment and mobile fire tenders in all the major townships. There are increasing incidents of rioting and fire accidents causing damages to properties worth hundreds of crores of rupees.
Another sector is the promotion of traditional art, culture, customs, language and literary activities. There is a proposal for construction of tribal cultural centres in 18 districts, and allocation for the Arunachal Literary Festival, which are good.
The budget allocates funds to various departments and schemes. The challenge lies in implementing the budgetary proposals in letter and spirit. Overall, the budget appears to be positive and progressive. Now that the MLALADS has also been hiked, we hope to see more development and progress in the state. (The contributor is retired Group Captain, Indian Air Force)