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No money to implement Central schemes in Meghalaya: Mukul

SHILLONG: Painting a grim picture of Meghalaya financial condition arising out the NGT ban on coal mining, Chief Minister Mukul Sangma on Friday claimed that the State Government was finding it difficult to mop up resources for the mandatory 10 per cent funding to implement Centrally-sponsored development projects.
“We are finding it difficult to garner the 10 per cent share which the State is required to contribute to implement the Centrally-sponsored projects,” the Chief Minister said while speaking about the fate of Central projects which are to be implemented in the State on a 90:10 funding basis between the Centre and the State government.
The State is facing a financial crunch because all along Meghalaya has been dependent on the royalty and relevant taxes earned from coal mining and various other economic activities that are directly or indirectly link with coal mining, Sangma said, while informing that the revenue generation of the State has gone down by Rs.600 crore this year.
However, on a positive note the, the State government has been able to provide its contribution of the 10 per cent share in some major projects, he said.
“This has been possible because the State government has worked out certain strategies to tackle the current financial crisis. The State had to resort to a number of exercises including budget cuts for all the departments. It has also affected our capacity to absorb most of the Centrally-sponsored schemes,” he added.
The Chief Minister also noted that his government along with those of other NE states have been continuously engaging with the Union government that Central sector schemes which are absorbing substantial amount of funds available with the State government must be brought down to the minimum.
“We are continuously engaging with the Centre and will continue to do so. During a recent meeting chaired by the Prime Minister we had flagged this issue because most of the states have not been able to take advantage of most of the central programmes,” he said.
Observing that the total estimate of the Central schemes comes to around Rs.1800 crore this year, Sangma said, “We cannot take advantage of most of the schemes not because of the State’s inability to mop up the 10 per cent fund but because of the strict guidelines that pose obstacles.”
Citing the case of non-implementation of schemes under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), the Chief Minister recalled that the State had to forfeit several schemes because of the strict guidelines and parameters which it was unable to meet.
The Chief Minister stated that JNNURM is linked with reforms, one of which is election of urban bodies or municipal bodies, which the State was unable to fulfill.
“The State government did try and attempt to hold municipal elections but people themselves resisted and we had to call off the election process,” he said, adding that based on this aspect there was a need for course correction.
“We could not fulfill one of the requirements and thereby landed up not being able to realize the benefits of this programme,” he said.

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