Budgetonomics 2022

Flights Of Fantasy

[ M Panging Pao ]

Recently, Rs 645-crore deficit Arunachal budget was presented. The projected total receipts are Rs 26,111 crores. The state share of central taxes has been pegged at Rs 14,348 crores and the state’s own tax revenue projected at Rs 2,090 crores. The non-tax revenue projection is Rs 935 crores.

This year’s budget focuses on the ‘Year of e-Governance’, under which 22 projects would be taken up. Good points in the budget include Atmanirbhar Arunachal schemes, with initiatives like the Atmanirbhar Krishi Yojana (Rs 100 crores), the Atmanirbhar Bagwani Yojana (Rs 100 crores), plantation scheme (Rs 60 crores) the Pashupalan Yojana (Rs 30 crores), and the Matsyapalan Yojana (Rs 20 crores).

Good initiatives include the eILP mobile app, eDBT, startup promotion initiatives with initial allocation of Rs 10 crores, increased allocations for the Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Swalamban Yojana, water for all, establishment of the Arunachal Pradesh Infrastructure Financing Authority, etc. However, disbursement under a few Atmanirbhar schemes is delayed due to lack of coordination with banks. There is a need for financial institutions/banks to support the government schemes.

In the health sector, good initiatives include increased allocations for the CM Chemotherapy Scheme, the renal care fund, the CMAAY, etc. The other good initiatives include upgrading the district hospitals, upgrading the Bakin Pertin General Hospital, Pasighat to a 300-bedded hospital, and upgrading 60 CHCs and PHCs. In the education sector, good initiatives include laptops for 10 district toppers of Classes 10 and 12 exams, and allocation of Rs 500 crores for establishing model schools.

In the infrastructure sector, good initiatives include the planned commissioning of the 500 mw Subansiri Lower hydro project; completion of the Hollongi airport; Itanagar to be connected to the Gas Grid; development of border villages, etc.

There are a few challenges also. Focus on e-governance and Atmanirbhar Arunachal should include creation of a single-window clearance system for all industries and agri-horti projects, aid to SHGs and FPOs, etc. Presently, there are too many windows and too much paperwork required. For every new project, about 10-20 percent is spent on required procedures, fees and paperwork only, even before start of industry or project.

Though a new initiative under ‘Vocal for local’ has been started with Rs 2 crore seed money to purchase products from various artisans, SHGs and entrepreneurs, this may not be sufficient. There is a longstanding demand that government departments and institutions should compulsorily procure products and services from local industries and units, without which bills should not be cleared.

Though many new micro and mini hydro projects have been initiated, there is an urgent need to create alternative power transmission lines to ensure uninterrupted electricity supply. Likewise, industrial estates should be modernised and developed.

Challenges include skilling our youths with ‘real skills’ to sustain jobs/livelihood. Similarly, there is a challenge to reduce/simplify government policies. Like the prime minister’s slogan, the state’s motto should be ‘Less government, more governance’.

Overall, the budget is well-balanced and positive. The budget proposals need to be implemented properly to make Arunachal a developed and atmanirbhar state. Can we? (The contributor is retired Group Captain, Indian Air Force)