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Meghalaya govt seeks Rs 82,815 crore from finance commission

Business Finance

Press Trust of India  |  Shillong 

The Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) government Tuesday sought Rs 82,815 crore from the 15th Finance Commission including a pre-devolution revenue gap of Rs 62,870 crore to the state.

The amount has been projected for five years during a meeting between the state government led by Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma and the Commission headed by Nand Kishore Singh here.

The state government has also sought Rs 15,609 crore as grants-in-aid for intervention in critical sectors.

These include Rs 4,956 crore for roads and bridges, Rs 2,476 crore for power, Rs 2,199 crore for sports and youth affairs, Rs 1,114 crore for water supply and sanitation, Rs 1,048 crore crore for law and order, Rs 957 crore for education, Rs 580 crore for health and family welfare.

After the meeting, Singh told reporters that the leadership of Meghalaya remained committed to address some of the endemic weaknesses of the state's economy and the strategy which they have outlined before the Finance Commission appears to be persuasive and eminently credible.

"(The government) can count on the FC to take a sympathetic view before we begin to finalise and affirm our recommendations towards the end of the year. It will be our endeavor to see that the government of Meghalaya is supported to be able to have really great GDP growth," Singh said.

He said Meghalaya has a feeling that following the loss of revenue on account of the ban on coal and following the uncertainties of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), there are some issues which deserve the attention of the Commission.

According to government reports, the coal mining industry was among the biggest revenue earners for Meghalaya, generating about Rs 700 crore annually, prior to its ban in 2014 by the National Green Tribunal that had cited safety of miners a reason when it clamped down on coal mining in the state.

Singh said, the government have sought a much higher devolution by way of enhancing the revenue deficit grant that was made available to them by the last Finance Commission.

He said, "We will look into all these on whether these are irreversible or this cannot be mitigated over time and consider their request for additional revenue deficit grant."

With the implementation of the 5th Pay Commission, the economy of Meghalaya has been somewhat straight, the fiscal deficit has gone up far beyond the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) target of 3 per cent.

Pointing out that the debt to the state's GDP has gone above 30 per cent, the Commission chief suggested that the state government has to devise a strategy to initiate greater medium term macro-economic stability by bringing down both fiscal deficit and the debt trajectory.

Last year the state's GDP grew at about 11 per cent but for a period from 2011 to 2018, it grew only at 5-6 per cent, he said adding, "This is significantly below the normal GDP growth that India experienced and significantly lower than some of the other North East states has grown."

"I think Meghalaya's economy needs to grow well above the double digit number," he said.

Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma said, "Realizing the huge potential and resources in the State, the government has initiated various programmes on a mission mode to add value to the available resources."

Apprising the Commission of various government programmes such as the Muga Mission, Aroma Mission and Lakadong Mission, he highlighted the challenges the state faces due to its its international borders, typical terrain and remoteness.

He said the year 2022 is a very strategic year for Meghalaya when the 50th year of statehood will be celebrated and the National Games will also be held in the state.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Tue, June 04 2019. 22:40 IST