NEW DELHI, Feb 19 � Faced with discontent over the fresh proposals to amend the Transport Subsidy Scheme (TSS), the Commerce and Industry Ministry has convened a crucial meet with the Chief Ministers of the North Eastern States on Tuesday.
The meeting comes in the backdrop of the disquiet among the industry bodies and the North Eastern States, which see in the Commerce and Industry Ministry�s latest move an attempt to dilute the ambitious North East Industrial and Investment Promotion Policy (NEIIPP).
The meeting to be chaired by Commerce, Industries and Textile Minister, Anand Sharma would be joined by the officials of the Ministry DoNER including its Minister, Paban Singh Ghatowar. Chief Ministers of North Eastern States including Assam, Tarun Gogoi, are expected to attend the meeting. The Chief Ministers of Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and West Bengal have also been invited.
According to sources, the problem relating to textile and handloom industries are also slated to be deliberated at the meeting.
As reported by this newspaper, last August, Ghatowar had assured the industries in the North-east that the Centre while firming up the new guidelines would keep in mind the demand for status quo as far as TSS was concerned.
Ghatowar, who had convened the meet in the face of a strong plea from Assam and Meghalaya to prepare a negative list to curb misuse of the subsidy scheme. Coke was identified as one item, which should be put in the negative list. The Industry Ministers of North-east states echoed the view expressed by the industries of the region.
The Minister DoNER later held consultations with the Chief Ministers of the region to ascertain their views. The DoNER Ministry feels that the need was to work out an efficient, transparent subsidy scheme with zero tolerance for misuse.
Fresh proposals on the table include introduction of additional rail heads at Guwahati, Tinsukia and Dimapur on the ground that it would reduce the distance thereby resulting in curtailment of subsidy.
Further, the Ministry DoNER is keen on making the industrial policies more broad-based by including agro products, handlooms and handicrafts. The focus is going to be on secondary sectors because manufacturing industry has been stagnating. The thrust is on low volume, high value products, sources said.
Assam Industries Minister, Pradyut Bordoloi had told this newspaper that there was a need to keep the �fly by night� operators out of the subsidy scheme. Industries like coke have misused the scheme, he added. Industries in the North-east have been troubled ever since the DIPP proposed to reduce the transport subsidies following allegations of large-scale cheating.