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BTAD budgetary provision estimated at Rs 300 cr

By Spl Correspondent

NEW DELHI, March 3 - The BJP-led NDA government today clarified that the budgetary provisions for the BTAD has been estimated at Rs 300-340 crore.

The routine press briefing called by DoNER Minister Dr Jitendra Singh took dramatic turn when Minister of State for Sports and Youth Affairs Sarbananda Sonowal, accompanied by Himanta Biswa Sarma, BTAD chief Hagrama Mohilary and Rajya Sabha MP Biswajit Daimary landed at the venue and held a discussion.

The issue was the allocation for BTAD, for which the budgetary allocation was estimated at Rs 100 crore as Central assistance and Rs 50 crore from the Ministry of DoNER.

Apparently upset with the allocation, the agitated BTAD chief rushed to Delhi and sought clarifications about the Rs 1,000-crore package promised by the Centre.

The clarification came from the DoNER Minister, who said that the BTAD will receive not less than Rs 300 crore. �There are apprehensions, but when you ask for Rs 1,000 crore you don�t get it at one go. If allocation of the various ministries in the Budget are taken into account then the figure touches Rs 300 crore,� he clarified.

The amount per say will not come from the DoNER Ministry, but other ministries would contribute too, he added. �There is no rationale to say that what has been promised has not been given,� Dr Singh said in the presence of Sonowal and Hagrama.

The State BJP president added that Assam would be benefited as also BTC from various ministries. The Minister has already promised a Rs 300-340 crore allocation and it may further increase. Expectations are going to be fulfilled and we are not going to backtrack,� he assured a visibly pleased Mohilary.

Reacting to the clarification, Mohilary said there is no more confusion now. �We shall get Rs 1,000 crore spread over three years,� he said, thanking the top NDA leaders.

Officials confided that part of the problem is the failure of the BTC to spend the previous allocations. The Utilisation Certificates did not come on time. As such, there is no resource crunch, but the problem is that they are unable to spend the allocated sanctions, added an official.

Meanwhile, the DoNER Minister hailed the quantum jump in the Budget allocation for the North East region in the Union Budget 2016-17. He said that in addition to all other allocations, the single most important announcement of exclusive and unique �Organic Value Chain Development� scheme for Rs 115 crore will prove to be a game-changer for the region. Not only will it help in boosting the enormous unexplored potential of organic entrepreneurship in the region, but would also turn the region into a favourite destination for new start-ups from across the country,� he said.

Dr Singh said that the Budget for Ministry of DoNER has been increased from Rs 2,334.50 crore to Rs 2,400 crore this year as compared to previous year. He said that the main emphasis of the Budget allocated for North East is on the overall development of the region. The provisions have been made for connectivity, skill development and organic value chain development, among others.

The Minister said that a budget of Rs 33097.02 crore has been allocated for the North East region across 56 ministries. This is 14 per cent higher than the budgetary estimate of Rs 29087.93 crore for previous year. Under the Non-Lapsable Central Pool Reserve (NLCPR), the budgetary estimate has been increased from Rs 90 crore to Rs 200 crore in 2016-17. The Budget allocation for North East Council schemes has been increased from Rs 700 crore to Rs 795 crore this year, he added.

The Minister also informed that Rs 150 crore have been provided for the newly launched NE Road Sector Development Scheme.

Dr Jitendra Singh also mentioned increase in the Budget allocation for North Eastern Development Finance Corporation (NEDFi) from Rs 30 crore to Rs 75 crore, which will further boost the Prime Minister�s Start-up India programme in the region. Similarly, skill development budget enhancement from Rs 16 crore to Rs 56 crore will further supplement the Start-up Programme, he added.

Besides the above provisions, emphasis has also been laid on the rural livelihood in the North East and budgetary estimate for this purpose has been enhanced to Rs 150 crore this year.

Showcasing the North East to the rest of India is very important for the development of the region. The budget allocation for this purpose has been increased from Rs 10.50 crore to Rs 17 crore this year, the Minister said. He said that this is almost 60 per cent more than the last year�s allocation.

Laying emphasis on the government�s efforts to improve the connectivity in North East, Dr Singh said that the main initiative of the DoNER Ministry as a part of the �Act East Policy� is to provide funds for rail link between India and Bangladesh. The budget cost for the Indian side of Rs 587 crore would be provided by the Ministry of DoNER, he added.

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