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Restore 90:10 funding, spl category statuses to NE states: CM to PM

Union Govt has imposed financial embargo on NE, claims Mukul

From CK Nayak

New Delhi: Chief Minister Mukul Sangma sounded alarm bells on Tuesday by depicting a seriously gloomy economic picture of the Northeastern states including Meghalaya alleging that the Centre was nearly stifling their economy through a virtual ‘financial blockade’.
In a hard hitting letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the chief minister demanded retention of the 90:10 pattern of funding, restoration of special category states to the North East and maintaining the allocation and release of special block grants. He also insisted on enhancement of adequate allocation to states for transfer of funds to the autonomous district councils.
“I urge your personal intervention for action on the issues urgently and put in place policies and procedures which are beneficial to both the Centre and the state Governments,” the chief minister said. This will help both to work together in a true spirit of cooperative federalism, he reminded the prime minister.
Cutting across political lines, chief ministers of the eight states ruled by the Congress, Left and regional parties had earlier urged the prime minister to maintain the special category status for the North East. Sangma said the chief ministers of the region will try to meet the prime minister again on these highly important issues.
Sangma said the sub-group of chief ministers on rationalization of centrally sponsored schemes has already submitted its report along with specific recommendations on the need to retain 90:10 pattern of funding between the Centre and the State in respect of the Special Category states.
“However, we are yet to receive appropriate communication on this matter from the central government and this has hampered developmental activities especially now that the working season has begun,” he added.
For almost all centrally sponsored schemes, releases are being made in an ad hoc manner by various Ministries, Sangma said, adding the states were unable to avail second installment because of the continuing ambiguity on the state share.
Secondly, the increase in the divisible pool of Central Taxes based on the 14th Finance Commission report in respect of the North Eastern states does not match with the additional liabilities, he said.
Besides the change in funding pattern for centrally sponsored schemes, the State is now expected to fund schemes which have been delinked from Central support as well as ongoing SPA and SCA schemes which were funded by the special block grants (i.e. SPA, SCA, ACA, etc.), Sangma said.
Further, the state government is also expected to meet the requirement of erstwhile central programmes which has put a lot of strain on the limited resources of the state and critically required investments in these areas have had to be put on hold.
The Meghalaya chief minister said the recommendation of the 14th Finance Commission for a substantial enhancement of funds under Article 275 was yet to be acted upon by the central government. This has assumed importance since funding of the State’s autonomous district councils was beyond the purview of the 14th Finance Commission.
Without any substantial increase of funds under Article 275, the State Government will be forced to transfer funds to the ADCs from its already dwindling resources, he pointed out. “All factors have resulted in dislocation in the momentum of growth we have been able to generate in last few years,” the chief minister said.
The result will be that Meghalaya and other Northeastern states will not be able to catch up with the resource rich states and thus with the rest of the country.
“The region will remain backward and in absence of development, our youth will be forced to migrate in search of opportunities, which do not augur well for the nation,” Sangma cautioned.

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