Itagar, April 11: With the recent replacement of the Planning Commission with the NITI Aayog and a shift in the recommendations of the 14th Fince Commission, Chief Minister bam Tuki today iterated that the role of North East Council (NEC) in the changed scerio be revisited.
Attending the 64th Plery of NEC at New Delhi on Friday, Tuki opined that role of NEC as the regiol planning body should assume primacy more than anything else, an official communiqué informed.
Tuki pointed that with the coming in of NITI Aayog there has been a fundamental shift in the way plan resources are allocated to the States. In this changed scerio, the most affected are the Special Category States (SCS), which were fully dependant on Planning Commission in steering development endeavours.
While welcoming the 14th Fince Commission recommendations for increase in vertical share of the states by 10% (from 32% to 42%) Tuki expressed concern over the revamped Central Plan Assistance.
He said as many as 10 Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS) have been delinked which includes NCA, SCA, SPA and ACA that formed a major chunk of Plan fund for the Special Category States. Further, the sharing pattern in 13 critical schemes is being proposed to be changed and as such the Special Category States, which enjoyed the 90:10 pattern of funding, will suffer.
The Chief Minister suggested that the Special Status accorded to states like Aruchal Pradesh be continued and the funding pattern of 90:10 for CSS be restored.
He also stressed those critical windows of Plan fund (NCA, SCA, SPA and ACA) must be continued in some form for some more time for Special Category States till they reach a critical threshold of development and become competitive enough. Zeroing in on the role of NEC since NITI Aayog has provision for Regiol Councils, Tuki questioned the future of NEC and its role. He pointed that majority of NEC’s efforts and times are consumed in issues like project selection, evaluation, sanction, monitoring etc. “To complicate the matters, the funding has been consistently reduced with a shortfall of 13.71% (4th- 9th Five Year Plan) to 57.76% (12th Five Year Plan). For the Annual Plan 2014-15, the outlay was Rs 1412.56 crore against which only Rs 770.00 crore was budgeted. This was also later cut to only Rs 579.00 crore,” he informed and added that with 8 states to cater to, these funds are too meagre.
He submitted that NEC must focus on its prime role as the Regiol Planning Body, be the repository of knowledge for the region, a centre of excellence for research, give policy recommendations to the Union Government as well as the member states, engage in periodic alysis of development of each state and have state specific advisor and cell attached to it.
The plan fund allocated to the Council can be suitably utilised for capacity building-both Government officials and private entrepreneurs in the respective sectors and monitoring, he said. “The NEC must therefore slowly withdraw from project sanction and utililse the funds on capacity building, policy research, entrepreneurship, etc,” Tuki said, the communiqué added.