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Modi’s Act East Policy goes with actions : Centre to spend Rs 43,285 crores in 2017-18 for NE states
TIWN Feb 11, 2017
Modi’s Act East Policy goes with actions : Centre to spend Rs 43,285 crores in 2017-18 for NE states
PHOTO : TIWN

AGARTALA, Feb 11 (TIWN): Eventhough, the Union finance minister Arun Jaitley didn’t announce any specific scheme or projects for the north-east in his budget speech but the mood in the region was positive overall. States in the region would likely to get a total of Rs 43,285 crores in 2017-18 and there’s hope that of the 3,500 km of new railway lines commissioned for the coming financial year a sizeable part would be constructed in the region. Assam CM Sarbananda Sonowal terming the budget as ‘historic’ said that the target for agricultural credit in 2017-18 at Rs 10 lakh crores adding “special efforts” will be taken to ensure adequate flow of credit. Reportedly, the union government has proposed broad-gauge connectivity to all state capitals in the north-east by 2020 and conversion of entire rail network to broad-gauge in the 2017-18 budget. Recently President Pranab Mukharjee said that the Railways related development the government has already poured in 10,000 crore for NE. Modi's development agenda failed to inspire Communist ruled Tripura's lameduck CPI-M Ministers, Politicians.

However, the budgetary allocation for the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region has been hiked as it saw a hike of about Rs 158 crore with the initiative of Modi Govt. Central Govt had announced the budget 1 month early for the budget 2017-18 and according to allocations for important ministries, Rs 2,682 has been allocated for 2017-18 for the DoNER Ministry against Rs 2,524 for 2016-17. The government's budget also suggests an increase of nearly 35 per cent in allocation for the north-eastern region across all ministries.

This substantial hike across ministries will directly benefit Tripura people and various developmental works can be done through it. Although earlier it was announced that no extra budget allocation will be done for Northeast in this current Financial Year but an allocation for the NER across all ministries in the Union Budget 2017-18 was Rs 43,250 against Rs 32,180 for 2016-17, reads the budget copy. Special attention has been paid to the economic development of the region from the Eighth Plan period onwards.

Infact Suresh Prahu also said on Jan 24 that Tripura & other Northeast states was and will be under special care of the Central Govt.

Although Tripura CPI-M state govt wanted extra allocation for Northeast, but the Govt was never ready to build up any industry or to develop the economy with its own finance commission. It’s to be mentioned, state Tripura even after pushing by the Central Govt never set up any Finance Commission here in Tripura, neither it could utilize the Central funds for state’s development.

It was said by Tripura former Finance Minister Badal Choudhury that during Congress Era, Tripura Govt managed to get extra Rs. 3200 from Centre, but the state Govt could never utilize the Central funds; rather the fund seeded the corruption which has gripped Tripura’s every depts..

According to the ruling CPI-M party in Tripura the Central Govt has seized the power from states and left no chance for raise voice for funds and all other issues. Raising fund issues, the main problem with NITI Aayog is said by CPI-M politburos that funds has been slashed, the subsidy has been decreases, special category is no more and NITY Aayog left no space for ‘bargaining’. 

After NITI Aayog raised questioned over proper Utilization of funds, Tripura CPI-M’s main opponent is now NITI Aayog. CPI-M claimed, “Due to the adoption of a new policy at the Centre, Tripura lost Rs 1,356 crore in 2015-16”. However, 

But realizing all these the Govt couldn’t avoid Northeast fully and thus the announcement was done. 

In October 1996, the central government's announcement of "New Initiatives for the NER" included a number of measures for the development of the region, which covered policy changes, special area development and development projects in key sectors. 

In order to mobilise financial resources, a policy decision was taken to earmark at least 10 per cent of the plan budgets of the central ministries/departments for development of the north-eastern states.

Ten per cent of the annual plan budget of 52 ministries of the union government is earmarked every year for spending in the NER since 1998-99. The region has 7.9 per cent (2,62,179 sq-km out of 32,87,263 sq.km) of India's land mass and 3.76 per cent (4.55 crore out of 121 crore) of population, according to the Census 2011.

 

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