GANGTOK, June 11 � Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Chamling attended the meeting of NE Chief Ministers called by the Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee recently in the Finance Ministry in the North Block in New Delhi to discuss financial situation of the NE States including Sikkim.
The meeting was also attended by Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission, Dr Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Members of the Planning Commission including BK Chaturvedi and all Chief Ministers of seven NE States and Finance Minister of Tripura.
The Union Finance Minister highlighting the fiscal constraints that the country itself was going through global recession, said that a number of factors attributed to present slow growth. Addressing the meeting, he said among the challenges that the country faced today are high fiscal deficit, widening current account deficit, slow export growth, low availability of institutional investment and foreign direct investment.
The Union Finance Minister attributed certain global reasons behind this slow growth saying that the international financial crisis of 2008-09 and the Euro crisis. He further informed that the global crisis was being compounded by the Euro crisis. Stating that the international economy impacted country�s growth, the Union Minister said that the country�s export accounting to over 32-33 per cent of our export to the European markets had been adversely affected.
Pawan Chamling, echoing almost all the NE Chief Ministers� concerns sought the cooperation of the Central Government to push the NE States on sustainable path of development. Highlighting the unique socio-geographical location of the State, Chamling pointed out that the Sikkimese people were saddled with added responsibility to ensure environmental security, water security and at the same time promote the nation�s integrity and sovereignty as unpaid soldiers living on international borders.
Sikkim joined the planning process much later than other States and hence all planning process of development, institutional interventions and delivery mechanism were introduced and begun only in 1975. Referring to the difficulty to access Central funding under certain Central sector schemes including JNNURM, etc., the Chief Minister sought the intervention of the Finance Ministry to facilitate easy and untied transfer of funds for a more need-based relevant scheme under State roads, schools, power, etc.
The Chief Minister Nagaland had similarly opined that the economy of his State was a salary economy with deficiency in development while the government was the sole employer.
Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi had also drawn attention to the narrow resource base of the State. Arunachal Pradesh explained the burden of salaries on the State Government. The CM of Mizorum also harped on the same line.