FROM A CORRESPONDENT
SHILLONG, March 9: Meghalaya Governor Keshari th Tripathi today said that the 14th Fince Commission has brought about a major change in the way central funds will be transferred to the states with greater flexibility to the states in budgeting for development and administrative costs.
“This change, however, imposes responsibility on the state in terms of better planning and budgeting as greater prudence in expenditure,” Tripathi said in his maiden address to the Meghalaya Assembly on the first day of the budget session today.
The Governor also said that the ban on coal mining by the tiol Green Tribul has had an adverse impact on the state’s own resources and there has been a substantial decline in the state’s revenue.
Tripathi informed the House that the government has taken steps to address this situation by improving efficiency in tax collection and plugging leakages.
According to the Governor budget making has become more challenging but the government has taken proactive measures to ensure that the growth momentum does not flag and resources continue to be available for completing on-going projects as well as for taking up new initiatives.
“The state government shall continue to actively engage with the government of India in restructuring various centrally sponsored schemes to ensure that the programmes are customised appropriately as per the needs of the state,” Tripathi said.
Meanwhile, on the issue of regulating mining in the state the Governor said that the state government has notified the Meghalaya Mines and Minerals Policy, 2012 to facilitate systematic, scientific and planned utilisation of mineral resources and to bring coal mining within the fold of a regulatory regime.
The Governor also said that the state government has constituted a committee to frame administrative guidelines, rules and appropriate procedures for implementation of the policy.
Tripathi said that in order to meet the requirement of mining on scientific basis duly addressing environmental concerns, safety and health factors, the state government will come forward with an appropriate mining scheme.
“On the request of the state government, the Ministry of Coal has constituted an Expert Group led by the Central Mine Planning & Design Institute Limited to prepare broad guidelines for mining of coal in the state and the Directorate General of Mines Safety to prepare guidelines on health, occupatiol safety and related issues,’ he said.
He also said that the Meghalaya Mineral Development Corporation will be strengthened to provide guidance and technical assistance to miners to prepare Mining Plan including mine closure plan.
Tripathi informed that the state government will facilitate reclamation of abandoned mines and also take steps for restoration of acidic water bodies.
Further the Governor said that in response of the state government, the Centre has constituted a Committee of Group of Officers under the chairmanship of the Cabinet Secretary with Meghalaya’s Chief Secretary as one of the members to work out a harmonious solution.
“In pursuance of the recommendations of the Group of Officers, the state government proposes to submit a proposal to the Government of India for suitable exemptions under Para 12A (b) of the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution of India after due consultation with all the stakeholders,” Tripathi said.