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State budget: Gogoi in tight corner

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  9 March 2015 12:00 AM GMT

BY OUR STAFF REPORTER

GUWAHATI, March 8: In the backdrop of the Central government’s decision to slash funds for different development schemes, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi will present the 2015-16 State budget in the Assembly on March 10.

But presenting this budget will be a difficult exercise for the Chief Minister as he needs to announce several new populist schemes and programmes, despite the Central government’s fund cut decision. With Assembly polls only a year away, Gogoi’s last full budget is likely to be election-oriented.

It may be mentioned that the Central government has decided to slash funds allocated for different development schemes due to non-submission of utilization certificates by Dispur, amounting to several thousand crores of rupees. So the Chief Minister, holding the Fince portfolio in all his three terms, now seems to have little room to manoeuvre.

In the ongoing fincial year (2014-15), the Centre has already made substantial cuts in the funds allocated under different development schemes for Assam.

On January 1 this year, Chief Minister Gogoi announced 25 pro-poor schemes for which Rs 862 crore will be needed by the State government. All these 25 schemes have also been included in the 2015-16 Annual Plan. Gogoi will also announce these pro-poor schemes in his 2015-16 State budget.

Sources said major share of the Annual Plan fund allocation comes from the Central government, while the State government contributes a very small share to the Plan fund allocation. “In such a fincially tight situation, it will be very difficult for the Tarun Gogoi government to implement these pro-poor schemes in the coming days,” sources added.

According to sources, Rs 7,161.57 crore for the fincial year 2014-15 had been allocated by the Central government to the State for different flagship schemes like IAY, MGNREGA and some others, but the Assam government has received only Rs 2,591.62 crore from the Centre till the middle of February last.

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