TT Epaper
The Telegraph
Graphiti
 
CIMA Gallary

Corporate presence shocks minister

Agartala, May 28: Tripura PWD minister Badal Choudhury who represented the state government in the swearing-in of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his council of ministers in the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhavan on May 26 expressed his “disappointment” over the presence of so many corporate honchos at the ceremony.

“It was not a very heartening sight in our viewpoint. The Ambanis, Adanis and other corporate honchos overshadowed the gathering. Our political culture is different and we cannot accept this lightly,” said Choudhury after he returned to Agartala yesterday.

Choudhury, who attended the ceremony because chief minister Manik Sarkar could not make it to New Delhi, said the Left Front government in Tripura wants Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government to be generous in providing economic support to small states.

“Tripura and other small states have been facing huge debt burden. We sincerely expect the Centre to waive the state’s debt,” the former state finance minister told reporters.

He said almost all states in the country have been demanding at least 50 per cent share of the central taxes, but the Centre has been ignoring the demand.

Describing the extent of the problem of state’s indebtedness Choudhury said the state had a total debt of about Rs 9,000 crore while the annual liability on interest and debt repayment was Rs 1,003.75 crore. A large part of the accumulated debt is owed to the Centre and unless the Centre waives the amount, the states will be “deeper into indebtedness and trouble in the coming years”.

He said the new government must reconstitute the Planning Commission soon and finalise the annual plans of the states. The annual plans for the 2014-15 fiscal year for states earmarked by the Planning Commission are yet to be finalised because of the Lok Sabha elections.

“Generally, during the months of March-April, the plan panel holds discussions with officials and chief ministers of all states to finalise their annual plans but this could not happen this year because of the polls,” he said.

He demanded an early plan discussion and finalisation of the plan size.

“Tripura was deprived of financial assistance by the 13th Finance Commission. Hence, the state has been facing serious financial crunch. We hope the 14th Finance Commission will compensate us,” said Choudhury.