CM to lock horns with Delhi over special status, salary burden
BY OUR STAFF REPORTER
GUWAHATI, March 7: Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Saturday stated in the Assembly that no illegal Bangladeshis will be allowed to stay in the State, but utmost care will be taken so that no genuine Indian citizens are harassed in the process. He said that the NRC update was being done by the government keeping this in mind.
Gogoi’s statement in the House was part of the debate on the speech given by Governor PB Acharya on the first day of the 2015-16 Budget session of the State Assembly.
The Chief Minister said, “No illegal foreigners will enter Assam if the NRC update is completed. But certain quarters in the State are indulging in politics over the NRC update issue and against it.” On the ongoing debate over fixing the ‘Assamese’ definition, Gogoi told the House: “The definition of Assamese should be broad-based. The Assembly Speaker has taken initiatives in this regard so that a consensus on the same emerges.”
Criticizing the Central government’s decision to abolish the Special Category State status to Assam by slashing funds meant for different development schemes, Gogoi said, “If the Central government doesn’t consider this issue seriously, the State is likely to face an adverse impact,” adding, “Assam has many problems, but I will accept the challenge.”
He further said, “The Central government told us that 35 per cent of the revenue expenditure only should be spent for salaries of employees, but it is not sufficient for a State like Assam. Sixty two per cent of the revenue expenditure is currently being spent for paying salaries in the State,” adding, “Whatever the Central government says, fifty three thousand vacant posts in the State government will be filled soon and I will not stop paying salaries to my employees.”
“Though I get a lot of respect from the present Central government ministers, including the Prime Minister, it is not the issue. The State needs money for development,” he said.
The Chief Minister informed the House that Assam’s current Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) growth rate is 6.86 per cent compared to the all-India average GSDP growth rate of 4.7 per cent. “The amount of bank deposits and loans sanctioned have also increased in the State over the years,” he pointed out.
On the crude oil royalty the State is currently getting from the Central government, Gogoi said that the Centre should hike royalty to 30 per cent to benefit the State.
On the law and order front, Gogoi said that the situation in the State has improved. On the holding of TET for recruitment of school teachers, the Chief Minister said that the government is planning to hold the examition district-wise.