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Central funds sanctioned after report from State

By R Dutta Choudhury

GUWAHATI, Sept 30 � There is a well laid down process of providing additional Central assistance to states in case of natural calamities and in case of Assam, the process is likely to start only after receiving a detailed report from the State Government.

Highly placed sources in the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) told The Assam Tribune that in case of emergencies, the Centre sometimes provides additional funds without going through the usual process, but the money provided is adjusted later after following the proper procedure.

Sources pointed out that during the preparation of the Budget, the disaster relief fund of each state is finalized to be used in case of natural calamities. The Centre provides 90 percent fund of it, while, the state Government has to provide the balance 10 per cent. In case of Assam, the fund size for the current financial year is around Rs 346 crore.

MHA sources revealed that whenever a state faces a major natural calamity and more than the fund made available has to be spent, the State Government sends a memorandum to the Home Ministry with the details of the losses. On receipt of such a memorandum, the MHA constitutes a team comprising officials of the concerned Ministries for an on the spot study of the damages and after receiving the report of the committee, a high powered committee of the Ministers meet for providing additional funds from the National Disaster Response Fund. The members of the committee set up by the MHA also have to depose before the Committee if necessary, sources added.

Sources pointed out that the Assam Government would be able to send a detailed memorandum on the damages caused by floods this year only after making proper assessment and only then the process of providing additional funds would start. At this moment, it will not be possible for anyone to say how much additional fund will be received by Assam to tide over the crisis, sources added.

When pointed out as to how the Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a package of Rs 1000 crore during his visit to flood hit Jammu and Kashmir, sources said that sometimes the states are given funds immediately to tide over the crisis when the state�s own disaster relief fund is not adequate to deal with the crisis. This is not unusual , but in that case also, the money would later be adjusted after going through the proper procedure, sources added. Similarly, Assam may also be given additional funds if required but the money would be adjusted later.

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