NEW DELHI, April 23 - Pleading for continuation of the North East Industrial Investment and Promotion Policy (NEIIPP), Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Sunday called for revival of the Ashok Paper Mill.
Taking part for the first time in the third Governing Council meeting of NITI Aayog at the Rashtrapati Bhawan Cultural Centre here, Sonowal also pleaded for revival of HPC�s Nagaon Paper Mill and Cachar Paper Mill, saying the resumption of these units will give a boost to the rural economy of Assam.
He requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to assist the State Government in reviving these mills.
Sonowal further requested the Prime Minister to allow continuation of the existing NEIIPP 2007, till a new policy is put in place.
�NEIIPP 2007 has led to significant industrial investment in Assam to the tune of around Rs 5,000 crore before its expiry on March 31 this year. Till a new industrial policy is put in place, NEIIP may be allowed to continue,� he said.
Sonowal pleaded for instructing the Ministry of Finance and NITI Aayog to evolve a mechanism for scheme-wise allocation of Central share well in advance to enable the states to prepare a realistic resource-based action plan. This is necessary because �non-availability of scheme-wise allocation of Central share before the presentation of a state budget creates difficulties in reflecting the correct allocation of funds against each scheme.�
As the country is on the cusp of introducing GST from July 1 this year, and he said it will give a big fillip to the Prime Minister�s �Make in India� initiative. In this context, Sonowal pointed out that Assam has had the enviable distinction of being the first state in the country to ratify the GST Constitution Amendment Bill.
The Chief Minister further pointed out that a special session of the Assam Assembly will be held from May 8 for consideration and enactment of the Assam Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017.
Lauding the Central Government for considering the amount of revenue forgone due to industrial concession as a part of revenue for the purpose of calculating GST compensation, Sonowal said this will protect the interests of Northeastern states and help in bringing them at par with other states of the country in terms of industrialisation.
Giving a detailed account of the innovative measures taken for payment of wages to around 8 lakh tea garden workers by opening their bank accounts in the wake of demonetisation, Sonowal said his government has taken a number of steps like making online services under e-district project, etc.
Underlining the State�s priority to doubling farmers� income, Sonowal said the State, inspired by the PM�s vision has set a target to achieve 15 per cent growth rate in agriculture by 2021. �To achieve the target we propose to leverage various ongoing Central and State schemes,� he said, adding that steps are also being initiated to augment post-harvest management, including setting up of modern markets for agricultural produce with funding from the World Bank.
In the same vein, Sonowal said the launching of ambitious Chief Minister�s Samagra Gramya Unnayan Yojana has been aimed at doubling farm income with investment of around Rs 1.2 crore each in 25,000 villages of Assam.
He informed that of the total Rs 2,500 crore under the mega mission, Rs 1,500 crore has already been released by the State Government.
Sonowal said his government has been able to increase tax revenue by 20.5 per cent, non-tax revenue by 28 per cent and a quantum leap in expenditure excluding salary and pension from Rs 12,833 crore in 2015-16 to Rs 24,731 crore in 2016-17 despite the first regular budget being passed only in August 2016 due to transparent and honest governance coupled with the yearning to accelerate the pace of development.