Central communications for several key schemes prove change in funding pattern: Rakibul
By Our Staff Reporter
Guwahati, June 11: The Assam government today refuted claims by Union minister Chaudhury Birender Singh that the 90:10 funding pattern for the Northeast states has not been changed, insisting that communications from the Central government tell a different story.
"Communications from the Centre speak otherwise. We don't want a conflict with the Centre, but at the same time the truth has to be told. The Centre is not abiding by the 90:10 funding pattern in many schemes," Assam P&RD minister Rakibul Hussain told a press conference here.
Citing a series of letters from the Centre, Hussain said that on April 16 last, the Centre communicated that in the Indira Awaas Yoja, the share of funding between the Centre and the State will be 50:50 henceforth.
"The allocation under IAY was Rs 1,373 crore last year, but only Rs 673 crore was released. This year the allocation is Rs 864.81 crore and only Rs 432 crore has been released so far. We doubt whether the remaining amount for the State will be released," Hussain said.
The senior minister also claimed that the Centre has suspended the Backward Region Grant Fund (BRGF) and Rajiv Gandhi Panchayati Raj Sashaktikaran Abhiyan.
"In another intimation on April 7 last, the Central government stated that funding pattern of the MGNREGA will be 75:25 henceforth. Under the scheme, the allocation for last year was Rs 954.45 crore of which only Rs 520 crore was released. This year the allocation is Rs 1,230 crore, of which just Rs 197 crore has been released so far," Hussain said.
Referring to similar communications from the Central government, the minister said the three schemes - Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yoja (RGGVY), Horticulture Mission and tiol Food Security Mission - which were entirely funded by the Centre, will now be funded in 50:50 pattern.
"Assam cannot be compared with bigger states like Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh. The comparison is unjustified. Even the bigger states are facing problems after the Centre decided to slash funds. Imagine the plight of smaller states like Assam," he said.
The minister also said that employees of the District Rural Development Agencies have not been paid salaries since the last six months as the Centre has not released even a single paisa under the appropriate heading.
During a review meeting yesterday, the Assam government had urged Union Minister for Rural Development Chaudhury Birender Singh that the special category status of the NE states should be continued, especially when it came to schemes meant for BPL and middle-class people.