Wednesday, Tripura Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ratan Lal Nath referred to those who accuse the government of fiscal mismanagement as hypocrites.
Nath’s remark came a day after TIPRA Motha chief Pradyot Kishore Manikya Debbarma and opposition leader Animesh Debbarma accused the government of depriving the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) of its budgetary allocation.
Nath told the media that the current state government has set a “new record” for its dedication to the development of tribals by allocating 39.81% of the development fund in the Rs 27,654 crore Budget.
“Of the Rs 14,086.42 billion allocated as development fund in the Budget, 31 percent was allocated for tribal development, and with the Rs 5,608.72 billion allocated for the tribal sub-plan, the allocation for tribal welfare totals 39 percent,” he said. He added that the nearly 40 percent allocation of development funds to the state’s 31 percent tribal population speaks volumes about the state government’s intent to develop tribal communities.
The last budget allocated Rs. 795.15 crore for tribal welfare, he continued. This year, the sector was allocated 1,024,46 crore rupees. In addition, the tribal sub-plan allocation was increased to Rs 888.33 crore for the welfare of tribals residing within and outside of the Autonomous District Council.”
Nath, the minister of Law, Energy, Agriculture, and Parliamentary Affairs, was accompanied by MLA Rampada Jamatia, the minister of tribal affairs in the previous government.
Nath’s calculations were in stark contrast to the TIPRA leaders’ assertions that the tribal council received only 2.7% of the state budget.
Shortly after the House passed the budget earlier this month, Pradyot Kishore Manikya Debbarma took to Twitter and wrote, “It’s startling to see that less than 2% of the funds have been allocated for the development of TTAADC. ADC encompasses nearly 70 percent of the state’s land, and 35 percent of the state’s population resides in ADC. This step-motherly treatment is the basis for our demand for a larger Tipraland.”
Opposition leader Animesh Debbarma referred to the budget as a “deficit budget” and stated that the state government has allocated only 2.7% of the total Budget to the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC), despite the tribal council administering 70% of the state’s geographical area.
The Tripura ADC, established in 1982, is dispersed across all eight state districts, comprises roughly 70 percent of the state’s land area, and is home to one-third of the state’s population from 19 tribal communities. While the Tripura ADC develops its own budget within the tribal council, it receives budgetary allocations from the state government. In addition to allocating funds for the ADC, the state government’s Department of Tribal Affairs carried out additional development initiatives.