GUWAHATI: The Central Government has released Rs 250 crore to Assam under the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF) for restoration works in the wake of the devastating floods and landslides this year.
According to sources in the Revenue & Disaster Management Department, the amount of Rs 250 crore is highest one-time release of fund under NDRF by the Centre to the State.
It may be mentioned that the Centre releases funds to states and Union Territories for disaster management under two heads – NDRF and SDRF (State Disaster Response Fund). According to Finance Commission recommendations, the SDRF funding pattern is 90 per cent Central share and 10 per cent state share. On the other hand, the NDRF is an additional grant which is totally funded by the Centre. The SDRF is a routine allocation under Finance Commission recommendations, but the NDRF depends on the Central Government's discretion.
It has been long-standing grievance that the Centre has been miserly in granting funds to Assam under the NDRF over the years, despite the state being a perennial victim of seasonal floods.
According to sources, the Centre had released only Rs 99.37 crore to Assam under the NDRF in the last ten financial years. This included a grant of Rs 45 crore in 2012- 13 and another grant of Rs 44.37 crore in 2020-21. No fund was granted by the Centre under NDRF in the remaining financial years in question.
Consequently, the latest grant of Rs 250 crore is attributed to Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who took up the issue with the Centre and persuaded the Ministry of Home Affairs to approve the grant. The fund has been already deposited in the state government exchequer.
The sources said that the fund will be a godsend in enabling the government to carry out restoration works necessitated due to massive infrastructural damage caused by the last bouts of flood and landslides in various areas of Assam.