FROM A CORREPONDENT
SHILLONG, May 2: The Meghalaya government on Tuesday has enhanced by 100 percent the salaries of various categories of teachers in the state.
Informing media persons after the Cabinet meeting, Chief Minister, Dr Mukul Sangma, said that the enhancement of salaries to different category of teachers will be through grant-in-aid to school maging committees.
Dr Sangma said that the enhancement of salary will benefit teachers of the Lower Primary, Upper Primary, fourth teachers under SSA scheme and Hindi teachers and it would be effective retrospectively from January 1, 2017.
The Chief Minister informed that this enhancement of salaries to different category of teachers through grant-in-aid to school maging committees would have a fincial implication of around Rs 63 crore.
“The government has been able to work out (the enhancement) in spirit despite the challenges of resources,” Dr Sangma said.
The Chief Minister also urged the school maging committees to exclusively use the grant-in-aid to pay the salaries of the teachers.
Dr Sangma also said the state government has made its stand clear that it does not intend to provincialise (to take over) the schools but would enhance the grant-in-aid to the school maging committees.
The Chief Minister informed that teachers entitled for the enhancement of salary included 2,450 lower primary school teachers, 2,532 upper primary school teachers, 1,521 ‘fourth teachers’ teaching in SSA-sponsored schools and 844 Hindi teachers.
Meanwhile, the state Cabinet also approved to reduce the tax on tobacco products like cigarettes and beedis by 2 percent. The tax on cigarette and beedis earlier was 27 per cent but with today’s decision it has come down to 25 percent.
The cabinet had reduced to bring down the tax on the ground that the reduction would improve tax collection.
Dr Sangma informed that the tax on tobacco products in 2014-15 was 20 percent and the state was able to collect taxes worth Rs 33.44 crore.
However after increasing the tax to 27 per cent, the collection could not improve much, as in 2015-16 the collection was Rs 36.09 crore and in 2016-2017 the collection of taxes slipped to Rs 31.48 crore.
The Chief Minister also said that the department was asked to study on the failure to mop up revenue despite hike in tax. Dr Sangma also hinted that there may be tax evasion even as he pointed out that there are uuthorised brands of cigarettes and bidis smuggled into Meghalaya from outside.
Moreover, the cabinet also approved the proposal for signing a tripartite agreement to implement the centrally-sponsored Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yoja (DDUGJY) for providing electricity in villages yet to be electrified.
The ratio of funding for this scheme would be 85:15 between the centre and the state government.