People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 23

June 09, 2013




Tripura Gets Paltry Increase in Annual Plan Allocation

                                                                                                                     Rahul Sinha


HAS the Planning Commission of India adopted political favouritism as its new yardstick for deciding on the plan size for different states? This question is sure to arise if one takes a look at the annual plan size of Tripura vis-à-vis the allocation for the Congress ruled states in the north eastern region.


The annual plan size for the state of Tripura for the fiscal 2013-14 was decided at a meeting in Yojana Bhavan, New Delhi, on May 29, between the Planning Commission’s deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia and Tripura chief minister Manik Sarkar. The meeting was attended by the state’s finance minister, Badal Choudhury, also. In the meeting the plan size of the state was fixed at Rs 2500 crore, which is far less than the allocations made for the Congress ruled states of the region like Assam, Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh.


During the plan discussion, the state had proposed a plan size of Rs 2850 crore for the current financial year. But the Planning Commission agreed on Rs 2500 crore only. While the plan allocation for Tripura was Rs 2250 crore in the last financial year, the state received only Rs 1920 crore. So excluding the arrear of the earlier financial year, the plan allocation for the state has increased by a mere 250 crore, that is, by a paltry 11.11 per cent.


On top of that, the Planning Commission has this time included the allocations from NLCPR and NEC in the total allocation of the state. These two funds have always been granted separately and account for an amount of Rs 130 crore. So the actual plan allocation for the state stands at a mere 2370 crore, which means an actual increase of only 120 crore or 5.33 per cent.


It was reported in the media that in the meeting Ahluwalia had lauded the achievement of the state.  According to the press release issued by Press Information Bureau (PIB) on the meeting, Ahluwalia’s opening remarks on the performance of the state of Tripura said that the growth rate of the state has been almost at par with the national level achievement during the eleventh plan and that even the plan realisation was satisfactory. He said the Planning Commission was happy about the development strategy of Tripura where pays a lot of attention to agriculture. He said the Planning Commission would push for early completion of the central infrastructure projects being implemented in the state.


Complementing the state for its economic performance, the Planning Commission has acknowledged that the SDP of Tripura at constant (2004-05) prices has increased by 90.84 per cent from 2004-05 to 2012-13, while GDP at the national increased by only 85.21 per cent in the same period. During the same period, the per capita NSDP at constant (2004-05) prices increased by 74.14 per cent in Tripura which is higher than the increase in national level figure of 62.13 per cent. Mr Ahluwalia said the state has made consistent progress in the quality of life and income of the people, cutting across all sections of society. He said the process needs to be taken forward for improving the socio-economic conditions of the people. Therefore he advised the state government to adopt investment friendly policies aimed at encouraging private participation in the development of physical as well as social infrastructure. Private participation was necessary to accelerate the infrastructure development process. The need to focus on health and education was also emphasised.   


The PIB also reported that, briefing the commission on Tripura’s development strategy, chief minister Manik Sarkar said that the inclusive development strategy has helped in improving human development. He said that as per the 2011 Census, Tripura has male and female literacy ratios of 92.18 per cent and 83.15 per cent, respectively, as against 82.14 per cent and 65.46 per cent at the national level. The overall literacy rate in Tripura is 87.75 per cent, which is higher than the national level literacy rate of 74.04 per cent. Sarkar said the state was working on preparing a comprehensive strategic plan and indicated the state government’s measures and interventions for development of higher education and consolidation of existing institutions in the state.


Thus the Planning Commission has admitted the successes of the state government and the figures of the central government itself are proof enough that the state ranks high among all the states in terms of implementing various central schemes and projects like the MGNREGA and Forest Rights Act. The state has earned a national award for excellence in agriculture and is placed far ahead of the national average and most of the mainland states in literacy, sex ratio, life expectancy, IMR, MMR and on other health and social indices. It therefore remains unclear as to what prevented the Planning Commission from granting the state a judicious amount of plan allocation so that this pace of all-round development could be further increased. On the other hand, there have been substantial increases in the amounts of money allocated to the Congress ruled states of the region. This clearly indicates a politically vindictive attitude against Tripura in particular and the non-Congress governments in general.


One may note that before Tripura, the Planning Commission had finalized the plan sizes for Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Nagaland. In case of the Congress ruled Assam, the annual plan size was agreed at Rs 12500 crore, which is 19 per cent more than the previous year. Being the largest and most populated state of the region, it is natural that the plan size for Assam will be larger than that for the other states of the region. But at the same time its failure in implementing the development projects are also huge. According to the reports published in the media in Assam, the state has failed to spend a huge portion of Rs 34000 crore released for it in different flagship projects of the central government. But, curiously enough, the allocation for Assam has increased by 19 per cent and for Tripura by a mere 11 per cent. One can still try to justify the higher allocation made for Assam, but a comparison of the figures for Tripura, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Nagaland clearly speaks of a political preference on the part of the Planning Commission towards the Congress ruled states. The allocation for Meghalaya was Rs 4151 crore and for Arunachal the amount was Rs 3700 crore. But the population of both the states is far behind that of Tripura. Even Mizoram, which is far less populated than Tripura, has been allocated Rs 2500 crore. Nagaland, another state where the Congress is not in power, has also been deprived. The plan allocation of the state is a mere Rs 2000 crore.


Tripura finance minister Badal Choudhury expressed a deep sense of dissatisfaction at the allocation made for the state. He said it was for the first time that the funds from NEC and NLCPR had been added to the plan allocation in order to show an increased allocation for a state. Otherwise, the actual plan outlay of the state is only 2370 crore. Incorporating the NEC grants within the plan amount means curtailing with the powers of donor ministry, which is uncalled for.