Tuki bats for continuing ‘special category status’ for NE states

Tuki bats for continuing ‘special category status’ for NE states

NEW DELHI, Mar 27: Chief Minister Nabam Tuki has appealed for continuing the Special Category Status for North Eastern States with the corresponding benefits. He was speaking at the first meeting of the Sub-Group on Rationalization of Centrally Sponsored Schemes of NITI Aayog at New Delhi today.

Tuki pointed out that in view of the untapped resources, geographical and cost disabilities and huge transportation costs, the Centre should be sensitive to the Special Category States and not disturb this categorization.

He highlighted that in all the Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS), the States must be empowered to make dynamic State specific guidelines with emphasis on sufficient fund transfer for critical sectors such as health, education and infrastructure. He also stressed that the criteria for fund allocation must be development deficit and population criteria among others

While calling for continued impetus on need based planning, the Chief Minister urged the Government of India to continue the 90:10 pattern of funding for Central Sector Schemes. He also requested the members of the Sub Group to examine whether the decrease in allocation for CSS may be adjusted from Central Sector Plan.

Tuki observed that 10% non lapsable fund is earmarked for the North East Indian States in each Ministry. During the FY 2014-15, the total fund was estimated to be Rs 53000 crore. There must be mechanism that the State Governments of the NE states are allowed to project requirements and the felt needs of the region to spend this fund, Tuki said.

“The Northeastern states are late starters in the development process for historical and geographic reasons. The Special Category Status accorded to these states must not be abolished abruptly rather a transitory approach must be taken,” Tuki observed.

It has been the consistent plea of all States that the guidelines of all schemes must be region/state specific and therefore the tendency of the Ministries to issue generic pan Indian guidelines must be done away with, Tuki opined.

It is also our experience that many of the Government schemes eligibility are based on population. Arunachal Pradesh is being deprived and penalized on such schemes, as the state is the largest in the Northeast and the most sparsely populated state in the country. Arunachal Pradesh may be seen through a different lens on this issue. Under development rather than population should be criteria for eligibility for availing schemes, he added.

A working group has been constituted with the CEO, Niti Aayog and Nodal Officers to prepare the first draft of recommendations of the Sub Group.

The Sub Group was chaired by Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh Shivraj Chouhan.