From CK Nayak
New Delhi: The annual plan for Meghalaya for 2013-14 was on Tuesday finalized at Rs 4151 crore following a meeting between Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission, Dr. Montek Singh Ahluwalia and Chief Minister Dr Mukul Sangma and other members of his Cabinet colleagues.
At the same time the Planning Commission, after a marathon meeting at the Yojana Bhawan here that lasted about three hours, also agreed to set up a Committee under the Secretary of Planning Commission to consider any further allocation if needed. The Committee would also ensure timely release of funds, development of special projects and externally added projects.
Incidentally, there was no cut in the plan size in case of Meghalaya while neighbouring Nagaland, whose annual plan was finalized only on Monday, and other North Eastern states had to face the scissor.
In his opening comments, Dr Ahluwalia termed Meghalaya’s performance in financial management as ‘good’ and achievements in human development index as ‘satisfactory’.
He pointed out that the GSDP at constant (2004-05) prices of Meghalaya has increased by 84.05 per cent from 2004-05 to 2012-13, while the national GDP increased by 85.21 per cent for the same period.
The per capita NSDP at constant (2004-05) prices of Meghalaya has increased by 65.54 per cent from 2004-05 to 2012-13 which is higher than the increase in national per capita NNI of 62.13 per cent for the same period, he added.
But the Planning Commission raised concern over high drop outs of school students in the hill state and advised the government to undertake academic and governance reforms in the higher education system.
Also the details regarding the enrolment in public and private institutions, investment in private sector and any initiative on PPP mode needs to be provided. The State Government was also advised to take necessary policy initiatives for further strengthening the industry sector.
Effort should also be made to fully exploit immense tourism and art and craft potential, the Planning Commission advised the State Government while asking it to make full use of Science and Technology in improving the pace of development.
State should also encourage public private partnership in all sectors of economy, Dr Ahluwalia said.
Briefing the Commission on the achievements, Chief Minister Dr Mukul Sangma said besides economic growth between 10th and 11th Plan period, the food grain production has gone up to 3.19 lakh MT from 2.70 lakh MT while horticulture production has risen to 5.22 lakh MT against 3.97 lakh MT.
He said literacy rate is 75.48 per cent against 62.6 per cent in the 10th plan and 81 per cent of villages have been electrified. The cash deposit ratio of commercial banks has gone up to 37.68 against 36.86 in the 10th Plan.
Dr Sangma sought the Planning Commission’s support for externally aided projects in water sector, green energy, new Shillong Township and forestry.
Dr Sangma also said that the State Government has stated that under the Mining Policy introduced in November 2012, mining is envisaged to be gradually regulated and illegal mining will be put to an end within a period of one year. The implementation of the policy will be monitored by Empowered Committee. The legality and other matters may also be examined, he said.
Dr Sangma also showcased the success of Centrally-sponsored rural development programmes and unique integrated basin development programme in the State.
The Chief Minister was accompanied by Dr RC Laloo, Rowell Lyngdoh, Prestone Tynsong, Zenith Sangma, Deborah Marak, HDR Lyngdoh and Roshan Warjri – all his Cabinet colleagues, besides Chief Secretary WMS Pariat and other top officials.