Agartala, Oct. 27: Worried about how much funds will be provided for the state’s non-planned expenditure, the Tripura government is planning to move the 14th Finance Commission to sanction more money for the state.
The Tripura government has kept on harping that the 13th Finance Commission deprived the state of funds meant for payment of salaries and pensions to government officials.
Though work is on to submit a foolproof memorandum listing the charter of demands for funds, senior Congress leader and MLA Ratanlal Nath has claimed to have found an anomaly in the state’s number of employees.
“I have obtained this information from the CAG and from official records of the state government. According to records with the CAG’s office — which maintains provident fund records of state government employees and those working in the first three categories of ADC posts — the state government has 75,500 officers and employees in the first three categories. But finance minister Badal Chowdhury gave a statement in the Assembly claiming the number of officers and employees working in the first three categories of posts is 83,468,” said Nath.
Quoting official data given by the finance minister, Nath said Tripura has 21,598 group D employees and 43,880 irregular employees. “But I fear there are discrepancies in the number of group D and irregular employees. It is quite possible that officials of the 14 Finance Commission, including chairman Y.V. Reddy, will visit the state on November 14 to tally the records with treasury papers and see through the game. This will adversely affect sanction of funds under the heads of salaries and pensions of serving and retired employees,” Nath said.
The government had received lower sanctions than asked for from the Thirteenth Finance Commission because of a discrepancy in the number of employees. While tallying the government’s data with the CAG’S records, the commission had found that the government had showed extra 11,000 employees.
“At the time of 13th Finance Commission, the gap in the records kept by CAG and state government was 11.000, this time it is 7,918 and this will lead to lower sanctions than the demands of the state government,” Nath said.
He also pointed out that the state government’s move to withhold benefits like dearness allowance, grade pay and central payscales would also lead to shrinkage of sanction by the finance commission.
“Even in the last financial year, the state government had failed to spend Rs 1,575.62 crore, according to information tabled in the Assembly. The state’s officers and employees receive only 48 per cent DA, no grade pay and no central scale pay. But the blunder is that inability to spend non-plan funds will lead to lower sanctions by the finance commission,” he said.