Assam heading into fiscal crisis
* No Central funds forthcoming, CM likely to table curtailed budget
* State employees fear rerun of salary-less days during AGP rule
* Assam not even contributing one-fourth of funds budgeted annually
* Gogoi government paying for tardiness in resource generation
By Our Staff Reporter
Guwahati, May 12: Assam is staring at an acute fincial crisis, setting of fears among government employees as to whether the State would witness a re-run of the AGP government days. It is a situation the Tarun Gogoi government had never faced nor bargained for in its three consecutive terms.
The State government is now uble to disburse salaries to its employees. Around 90 per cent of the staff at the State secretariat is yet to get salaries for April. The situation in the districts is worse. This crisis did not develop all at once. Rather, it was in the making for quite some time and bound to happen, given the State’s over-dependence on Central funds and slackness in revenue generation.
Since the last 10-15 years, almost all government schemes and programmes were linked to Central grants. No stress was given on income generation and resource mobilization in the State. The general budget document presented every year is a commentary on this sorry state of affairs.
For 77 per cent of the required annual funds, the State is dependent on the Centre. Only the remaining 23 per cent comes from the State’s resources.
Even in this year’s budget, the total estimate of inflow into the consolidated fund of the State during 2015-16 is Rs 64,000 crore. Of this, only Rs 17,000 crore will come from the State’s own resources. For the rest, the State is dependent on Central grants and interl debt.
Now with New Delhi tightening its purse strings, there is a strong likelihood that Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi may present another budget in the next Assembly session, reducing the allocations made in the last budget.
Gogoi has been, since the last few months, blaming the Centre for the crisis looming over the State.
However, observers have blamed it on the tardiness of the Tarun Gogoi government which hardly did anything in the last 14 years to open more avenues for revenue generation.
The impending fincial crisis has set off a buzz among the State employees who are wondering if they would again have to resort to agitations for disbursement of their salaries, as they had done in the dark days of the AGP government.