Make DoF accountable: Saikia
State fincial status
By our Staff Reporter
GUWAHATI, Nov 23: With works of most of the ongoing projects grinding to a halt and Dispur only talking the talk without walking the walk on new projects, Leader of Opposition Debabrata Saikia is skeptical of the precarious fincial status in Assam.
Talking to media at Congress Legislature Party room in Assam Assembly on Thursday, Saikia said: “The fincial status of Assam is grave. After the State being robbed of its special status, the BJP-led government at the Centre did assure us of giving Assam ‘special treatment’. However, it has been proved that the Centre just talked the talk, without walking the walk. Dispur failed to meet the target set by it on blacktopping of roads. Tendering for works under PMGSY has not been done as yet. The Centre has not been releasing any fund under the tiol Rural Drinking Water Policy since 2014 when only one installment was released. As many as 2,000 projects under the scheme have been lying pending. The Centre first stopped works under MGNREGA and then opened it, but did precious little to release funds under it for Assam. Chief Minister Sarbanda Sonowal did take up a project – Amar Gaon, Amar Asoni – for all-round development of rural areas in the State. However, works under the scheme haven’t been initiated as yet. Generally budgetary allocations do have mention of their funding sources. However, the 2016-17 Budget didn’t have mention of sources of funds, and as such proper assessment of the schemes can’t be done.”
Saikia apprehended: “There’re reports that the Centre is going to stop funding States under Non-Lapsable Central Pool of Resources (NLCPR). However, Dispur is still to hold talks with the Centre on this issue. If funding under NLCPR is stopped, development projects in the State will suffer badly. When there was Planning Commission, the States could go there to seek funds. However, in its new avatar – NITI Ayog – there’s no provision for States to move to Ayog for funds. The Ayog has spelt it out that the system has been decentralized and as such funds will keep coming to the State on its own. However, under this new system only a few departments are getting funds, the rest aren’t. This government has been lying on the fincial status of the State since coming to power. Soon after coming power at Dispur, it said that it inherited a debt burden of Rs 10,000 crore from the previous Congress government. However, while responding to a question on the floor of the House, the government said that it had Rs 10,000 crore left behind by the previous government in the State exchequer.” Taking all such issues into account, Saikia said: “The Chief Minister should call a meeting for review of the fincial status of the State and make the Fince Department accountable for the fincial state of affairs now.”