Manipur budget priority should shift from community and rural development to a sector that can generate revenue for the state, a social researcher has said.
Pointing out that for the last five years the state budget has been focusing on the community and rural development sector, Serto Tondana Kom asked how far the community and rural development works have progressed in the state.
Serto, speaking to mediapersons at Manipur Press Club, Imphal on Sunday, said Rs 3527379.14 lakh budget for 2023-24 is a large budget when compared to other states of the Northeast in terms of population, except for Assam.
In the 2020-21 state budget, Rs 340904.38 lakh was allocated for community and rural development, in 2021-22 budget, Rs 508873.71 lakh was also for community and rural development and priority was given to community and rural development since 2017.
Questioning whether the state budget cannot give priority to sectors like agriculture, horticulture, Serto further asked if the state does not have a revenue source, then what process is being taken for the revenue source.
While looking at the composition of revenue receipts for budget estimate 2023-24 diagram, the state’s tax revenue is 12 per cent while the state’s non-tax revenue is 1 (one) percent, share in central taxes is 27 per cent and grant-in-aid from the Centre is 60 per cent, Serto said.
The state appears to be depending on the Centre for 70 per cent of revenue, he said and asked why the state government is not working on improving revenue tax or collection.
Serto also questioned if the agricultural lands of the state do not have any revenue and further questioned if the state's tourism, sports, art and culture, which are at an international level, are not given priority. In the animal husbandry sector, a huge amount of money is spent on importing cows from Moreh and the state needs to have a look at this too, he said.