Budgetonomics 2023

Flights Of Fantasy

[ M Panging Pao ]

Recently, Rs 758 crore deficit pre-election Arunachal budget was presented. The projected total receipts are Rs 29,657 crore, the state share of central taxes has been pegged at Rs 17,946 crore, and the state’s own tax revenue projected at Rs 2,565 crore. The non-tax revenue projection is Rs 847 crore.

In an excellent initiative, 2023 has been declared as the Year of Aatmanirbharta Youth Aspirations and Livelihood Opportunities. Towards Atmanirbharta, good schemes include the Aatmanirbhar Krishi Yojana (125 cr), Atmanirbhar Bagwani Yojana (125 cr), plantation scheme (75 cr), Pashupalan Yojana (30 cr), Matsyapalan Yojana (20 cr), and support to organic local products/crops, etc. Good initiatives include startup promotion initiatives with initial allocation of Rs 20 crore, increased allocations for the Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Swalamban Yojana (150 cr), and many tourism promotion schemes. There has been emphasis to improve governance through e-office, e-ILP, Seva Apke Dwar, etc. However, there are presently lots of paperwork and ‘windows’ for normal office work like depositing treasury challans, trading licences, driving licences, etc. These procedures need to be streamlined and made easier for the common citizens. Like the prime minister’s slogan, the state’s motto should be ‘Less government, more governance.”

Other good initiatives include the vibrant border villages programme, promotion of students with laptops for district toppers of Class 10/12, golden jubilee meritorious student award, upgrading of NCC battalions infrastructures, promotion of good schools like VKVs and RK Mission Schools, promotion of sports facilities and sportspersons, and start of Arunachal University in Pasighat.

Additional good initiatives are in the health sector, including upgrading of the TRIHMS into a 110 MBBS seats medical college, upgrading of 60 PHCs/CHCs into ‘golden jubilee’ PHC/CHCs, ICUs, upgrading of the BPGH in Pasighat to a 300-bedded hospital, etc. However, the state needs another medical college in Pasighat.

Though seed money has been allocated to purchase products from various local artisans, SHGs and industries, this may not be sufficient. There is a longstanding demand that government departments and institutions should compulsorily procure products/services from local industries only; otherwise, bills should not be cleared.

Another challenge is to improve the industrial estates in many towns and districts which are in bad shape, lacking basic infrastructures like paved roads, water supply, three phase electricity, etc. There is an urgent need to repair, maintain and revitalise the industrial estates to promote local industries and potential investors.

Another big challenge is stabilised electricity supply. Electricity is the basic foundation for all development activities and growth. Though Arunachal produces excess electricity, the transmission lines are erratic, with frequent failures and no alternative lines. There is an urgent need to create alternative power transmission lines for uninterrupted electricity. Availability of 24/7 stabilised electricity will go a long way in ushering in development, and boosting industries and tourism in the state.

Overall, this budget appears to be balanced and positive. However, the budget proposals need to be implemented in letter and spirit to transform Arunachal into a developed and self-reliant state. (The contributor is retired Group Captain, Indian Air Force)