Continue special category status: Tuki


ITAGAR, March 28: Aruchal Pradesh Chief Minister bam Tuki has appealed the Centre for continuing the special category status for North Eastern States with the corresponding benefits.

He was speaking at the first meeting of the sub-group on ratiolization of centrally sponsored schemes (CSS) of NITI Aayog at New Delhi on Friday, chaired by Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh Shivraj Chouhan, official sources said here today.

Tuki pointed that in view of the untapped resources, geographical and cost disabilities and huge transportation costs, the Centre should be sensitive to the special category states and not disturb this categorization. He highlighted that in all the CSS, the states must be empowered to make dymic state specific guidelines with emphasis on sufficient fund transfer for critical sectors such as health, education and infrastructure.

He also stressed that the criteria for fund allocation must be development deficit and population criteria among others

While calling for continued impetus on need based planning, the chief minister urged the Centre to continue the 90:10 pattern of funding for central sector shemes. He also requested the members of the Sub Group to examine whether the decrease in allocation for CSS may be adjusted from central sector plan. Tuki suggested that 10 per cent non lapsable fund should be earmarked for the North East states in each ministry.

"During the FY 2014-15, the total fund was estimated to be Rs 53000.00 crore. There must be mechanism were the state government of the NE states are allowed to project requirements and the felt needs of the region to spend this fund," he pointed out.

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; rather a transitory approach must be taken.

"With the delinking of the schemes, the major impact is felt by the special category states because of the block grants being done away with. A mechanism must be evolved for the ongoing schemes and projects under these delinked schemes," he pleaded.

Tuki further urged the Ayog to continue the 90:10 pattern for the Northeastern states in the category - B schemes.

"It has been the consistent plea of all states that the guidelines of all schemes must be region/state specific and therefore the tendency of the ministries to issue generic pan Indian guidelines must be done away with," he said.

"It is a fact that with higher devolution, states will receive higher share of central taxes. However, in the case of special category states, with the abolition of the block grants (NCA, SCA, SPA, ACA), the net effect, at least in the first three years of the FFC period, is minuscule," he added.

"Further, the erroneous award of previous commissions and the impact of successive pay commissions, the special category states have a huge backlog to be cleared. Therefore, the Committee must recommend some transitory formula to overcome this situation. Development will be impacted again if this situation is not resolved," the chief minister observed. "It is also our experience that many of the government schemes eligibility are based on population. Aruchal Pradesh is being deprived and pelized on such schemes, as the state is the largest in the Northeast and the most sparsely populated state in the country. Aruchal Pradesh may be seen through a different lens on this issue. Under development rather than population should be criteria for eligibility for availing schemes," he stressed. Informing that his state has successfully implemented the 3rd Party monitoring of projects, the chief minister suggested for extending the same to all CSS. The next meeting of the Sub Group would be held on April 27 next. A working group has been constituted with the CEO, Niti Aayog and Nodal Officers to prepare the first draft of recommendations of the Sub Group, the sources added.

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