Dispur in dire straits over huge salary bill
BY OUR STAFF REPORTER
GUWAHATI, May 14: The State budget for the fincial year 2015-16 passed in the Assembly has turned into a meaningless exercise with the Central government reducing its fund share for many schemes in Assam. Announcements of new schemes/programmes are made in the State budget on the basis of Central-State fund share in which the share of Central funding is maximum. But Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, holding additiol charge of Fince, is saddled with a budget this time that he cannot implement.
With the rendra Modi-led BJP government’s decision to reduce Central share, the fates of many schemes/programmes in the State are hanging in balance. Dispur is now facing severe hurdles in implementing several Central schemes in the State as well as other development schemes announced in the 2015-16 State budget.
Sources said the present Central government has reduced its fund share by 50:50 for many schemes instead of the earlier 90:10 formula. “Many schemes announced in the 2015-16 State budget were formulated on the basis of 90:10 fund share and also allocated funds on that basis. But with the decision of the Central government to reduce its fund share from 90 per cent to 50 per cent, the State government will now have to allocate 50 per cent of the scheme fund instead of 10 per cent,” sources added.
The situation has been further aggravated by the fact that the Central government has also decided to slash funds for many other Central schemes like RKVY, NHM, RMSA and ICDS in Assam.
A letter sent by the Joint Secretary to the Government of India to all the States, including Assam, about a scheme under the Soil Conservation Department stated: “...this is to inform you that as per the budget proposal for 2015-16, the funding pattern under IWMP (Integrated Watershed Magement Programme) is going to change and the ratio of Central and State share will be 50:50 instead of 90:10 at present. The Annual Action Plan may, therefore, be prepared by the States keeping in view the increased State share...the States are requested to intimate their commitment to provide the increased State share (50:50) under IWMP. The 2015-16 Annual Action Plan will be filized keeping in view the commitment of the States to the increased State share.”
Sources said Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi’s gameplan to implement different development schemes through his ‘election year’ budget for 2015-16, now lies in tatters due to the Central fund squeeze. As of now, Dispur is desperately trying to work out how to pay salaries and pensions to serving and retired State government employees.