Agartala, May 16: The Congress Party has asked the NDA Government at the Centre to abandon any move aimed at withdrawing the special category status of the northeastern states, which are backward.
AICC general secretary in-charge of Northeast, V. rayasamy, expressed his worry at the Centre’s deliberation to end the special category status for the northeastern states.
“In the 14th Fince Commission, there is a recommendation that Special Category status given to northeastern states will be removed. What will happen if it is removed? Now, Special Category states especially the northeast, Jharkhand, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir are getting 90 percent grant from the Government of India for the budget. Ten percent is the state government’s contribution,” rayasamy told reporters at the Congress Bhavan in Agartala.
“If the Special Category status is removed which is a total injustice to northeast’s development, which are all backward states 30 percent will be given by the Central Government and 70 percent will be from the state’s contribution. From where 70 percent will come to the northeastern states because they don’t have big industries, small scale industries or important tourism destition,” he added.
The Congress leader further said the BJP-led government at the Centre by announcements in the Union Budget to change the funding pattern is also trying to delink the large number of schemes and even reduce the number of flagship programmes from the existing 17, including Sarva Siksha Abhiyan, NRHM, PMGSY, MGNREGA and drinking water scheme.
“They are totally cutting the funds that are flowing to the northeastern states. From all the centrally sponsored schemes, they cut the funds even for the ongoing schemes for the northeast,” said rayasamy. “I am in-charge of the northeast and I got the information from the Chief Minister of the Congress-ruled northeastern states. They stopped the funds for obvious reasons. Another danger that is going to be faced by the northeastern states, which is an injustice to the northeast, is removing special category status for northeast (states),” he added. The former union minister urged the government to continue the 90:10 pattern of funding for central sector schemes.
Stating that the northeastern states are late starters in the development process for historical and geographic reasons, he stressed that special category status to these states must not be abolished abruptly.
The Congress leader also accused the Centre of giving the northeastern states a step-motherly treatment. He said that there was no discrimition between the Congress and non-Congress ruled state in central fund allocation during the former UPA regime.
rayasamy, who was on a three-day visit to the state, also commented on the poor performance of the Congress in the recently held Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) polls.
“We were not able to communicate to the people properly, this is our failure. Secondly unity factor and thirdly we did not have sufficient time to identify the candidates,” he said. (ANI)