Central fund squeeze
By our Staff Reporter
Guwahati, May 9: Assam is facing the biggest ever challenge in the last and current fiscals with regard to planning and flow of resources, and there is a cloud of uncertainty on future prospects, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi has admitted.
In a letter to Union Fince Minister Arun Jaitley, Gogoi said the crisis bears serious implications to various developmental programmes and is adversely impacting the welfare of poor people in the State.
“Assam needs more public investment and increased fincial support from the Centre to sustain and accelerate the growth momentum that the State has been able to achieve in the last decade or so,” he said.
Pointing to the slashing of Central funds since last year, Gogoi said even the North Eastern Council (NEC) and Non-Lapsable Central Pool of Resources (NLCPR) funds, which are meant for the focused development of the Northeast, have witnessed sharp declines in the actual amounts released to the State.
“In 2013-14, the release to Assam under the NLCPR was Rs. 237.14 crore, while the NEC released Rs. 118.11 crore. However, in 2014-15, Assam received only Rs 151.15 crore under the NLCPR and only Rs 71.84 crore from the NEC,” he stated.
It has been noticed that announcements in the Union budget for 2015-16 have led to drastic reduction in resources for many important schemes. This combined with a lack of clarity about the fil pattern of fincing has impacted the State budgeting process, leading to much confusion. It will cause delays in planning and implementation, especially as Assam has a short working season for civil works and other developmental schemes, Gogoi stated.
The Chief Minister said twelve programmes/schemes which received budgetary support from the Centre till 2014-15 have been completely delinked from Central support in the Union budget of 2015-16. “We estimate that the impact of the delinking of these schemes from Central support, based on the release of funds last year would be to the tune of Rs 4,015.64 crore,” he stated.
Gogoi also said that ONGC has been paying royalty to Gujarat on pre-discounted price but in case of Assam it was not so. This, according to Gogoi, has resulted in a revenue income loss of more than Rs 10,000 crore for Assam.
Gogoi also requested Jaitley to arrange for release of the balance amount of Rs 1,579.78 crore of the Central Sales Tax compensation for the years 2010-11 to 2012-13.