Financial assistance to NE states soon

Agartala: Planning Commission and the Union Ministry of Finance would work out a plan soon to provide financial assistance to north eastern states facing financial crunch due, Tripura Finance Minister Badal Chowdhury said on Thursday.

Chowdhury, who attended the meeting of chief ministers of northeastern states in New Delhi on June 5, said the assurance was given by Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee who announced to form the 14th Finance Commission within this year to address the financial problems of the region.

He quoted Mukherjee as telling the meeting that the central government was committed to implement the ‘Look East Policy’ which would not be possible without development of the north east states.

“Mukherjee also said the north eastern region would be included to achieve the second green revolution in the 12th Five Year Plan period and the North East Industrial and Investment Promotion Policy 2007 would be implemented to boost investment in the region,” Chowdhury said.

Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia present in the meeting said another meeting with the north eastern states would be held within three to four months.

Choudhury said Mukherjee had admitted the facts of deprivation towards the North Eastern states by the 13th Finance Commission(FC) and assured to look into the issue through the Planning Commission.

He, however, pointed out that all eight NE states had unitedly voiced against the award of the 13th FC and demanded immediate grant from the Centre to manage the situation. But there was no specific assurance of assistance from Mr Mukherjee, he added.

Except Sikkim and Meghalaya, all six states had been demanding financial assistance soon after the recommendations of the 13th FC. Tripura also had demanded Rs 10,499.63 crore to manage the shortfall.

“The 13th FC has recommended only Rs 4,453 crore as non-plan gap grant as against Rs 5,494 crore in the 12th FC award, leading to a reduction of Rs 1,041.20 crore. As a result, the state government cannot manage the financial obligations of the employees,” Choudhury stated.

“To tide over the crisis, Mukherjee promised that he would convene a meeting of NE states to explore on how to supplement the requirement of the deprived states,” he added.

Mukherjee asserted the Centre was committed to the development of the N-E and would continue to support the state governments in their endeavours. (Agencies)

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