State Annual Plan finalized at Rs 3939 crore

From CK Nayak

(L-R) Prof RC Laloo, Prestone Tynsong, Rowell Lyngdoh, Dr Mukul Sangma and Bindo M Lanong with Dr Montek Singh Ahluwalia in New Delhi on Thursday.

 New Delhi: The Annual Plan for Meghalaya for 2012-13 was finalised at Rs 3939 crore here on Thursday at a meeting between Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission, Dr. Montek Singh Ahluwalia and Chief Minister Dr Mukul Sangma and his Cabinet colleagues.

This is an increase of Rs 1212 crore over the preceding year. Interestingly, the State itself had sought Rs 3535 crore for the year 2012-13 but the Planning Commission was magnanimous in sanctioning Rs 404 crore more than what was sought for after a marathon meeting at the Yojana Bhawan here that lasted about three hours.

Dr Sangma said that after concentrating on infrastructure, the State would now focus on social sectors like education and health. This will benefit all sections of society but mainly the weaker ones, he said.

Fiscal discipline with enhanced focus on revenue generation would continue to be the priority of the Government, he said.

The State is doing well and many innovative schemes have been launched which resulted in the high allocation, he said.

In his comments on the plan performance of the State, Dr Ahluwalia said the State has been performing well. He urged the State Government to lay major focus on water management during the 12th Plan period.

The Deputy Chairman said that this issue will be brought to national focus and also proposed a meeting of the chief ministers in the near future. He said the country needs a focused approach to manage efficient use of available water in the country.

The State Government was advised to take necessary policy initiatives for further strengthening the industry sector. It was pointed out that petro-chemical sector needs promotion. Effort should also be made to fully exploit immense tourism and art and craft potential, the Commission advised.

The Planning Commission also advised the State Government to make full use of Science and Technology in improving the pace of development. It also asked the State to encourage public private partnership in all sectors of economy.

The Chief Minister pointed out that as part of its inclusive growth strategy, the State Government has decided to transfer funds, functions and functionaries of major departments to traditional institutions. He said funds have been allocated separately for SC/ST and OBC in every head of plan expenditure.

Dr Sangma said priorities for the 12th plan would include accelerated development of infrastructure, both physical and social and introduction of policies. This will encourage private sector participation in infrastructure development, he said.

Appreciating the economic progress of Meghalaya, Dr Ahluwalia said more should be done if the hill state wants to catch up with the rest of the country.

“Catching up with the rest of country and poverty reduction therefore should continue as an unfinished agenda for the 12th plan,” he added.

The Chief Minister highlighted the special problems relating to state highways and major district roads and replacement of timber bridges. He reiterated the commitment of the State to faster and inclusive growth in line with local aspirations and national priorities.

During the discussions, the Deputy Chairman congratulated Dr Sangma for ‘landmark achievements’ in financial management and for initiating new inclusive approaches for all round development. He also appreciated the State’s strategic approach to the 12th Plan building upon the achievements of the last two years and the initiatives under the Integrated Basin Development & Livelihoods Programme.

The State was specifically congratulated for the commissioning of the Myntdu Leshka Hydro Electric Project and the successes in horticulture and floriculture sectors. The Commission noted the efforts of State in tackling the huge backlog of untrained teachers and suggested that this be taken up on a Mission Mode.

The Commission also advised the State to devise strategies to reduce the number of school dropouts.

Besides the Chief Minister, Deputy Chief Ministers — Bindo M Lyngdoh and Rowell Lyngdoh, Cabinet Ministers — Prestone Tynsong and Prof RC Laloo and Chief Secretary WMS Pariat took part in the meeting.

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