Rs 999 cr cut from Councils’ budget

CEMs to meet on Thursday to discuss fund cut from Rs 1,000 crore to Rs 1 crore

SHILLONG: The chiefs of the 10 district councils in the North East will meet in Shillong on Thursday to discuss the reduction of the budget to the councils to Rs 1 crore from Rs 1,000 crore, which was earmarked for 2016-17.
It was after the district councils failed to provide utilisation certificates for the money sanctioned in 2015-16 that the allotment of Rs 1,000 crore was revised to Rs 1 crore during the current budget session. Moreover, the budget estimate for 2017-18 is Rs 500 crore.
KHADC Chief Executive Member P.N Syiem said on Sunday that an emergency meeting of the Forum of Councils under the Sixth Schedule (FOCUSS), an umbrella body of all the 10 district councils in the North East, was called to discuss the allotment of funds.
Syiem said the amount budgeted by the Centre for 2017-18 for the councils is Rs 500 crore which, according to him, should be enhanced to Rs 1,000 crore.
According to Syiem, who is also the chairman of FOCUSS, there is a need to jointly take up with the Centre to review the revised budget of Rs 1 crore from the previous Rs 1,000 crore and also the proposed budget of Rs 500 crore for 2017-18 for all the councils.
Syiem said the delay in submission of utilisation certificates was due to the late finalisation of guidelines  by NITI Aayog, slow process in deciding projects by the KHADC and the delay in transfer of funds by the State Government.
However, for the overall development of the areas under the Sixth Schedule, the Centre should reconsider its decision to reduce the budget allotment, Syiem said.
He said after the meeting, a joint letter will be sent to the Centre in this regard.

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