SHILLONG, Sept 17 - Chief Minister Mukul Sangma today said the sudden withdrawal of �special block grants� by the Central Government has hampered developmental projects in Meghalaya.
Sangma, replying during the Question Hour in the State Assembly, said the Northeastern States have all along been treated as special category States by successive Central Governments.
But the problem arose after the Central Government, based on the 14th Finance Commission recommendations, increased the Central tax revenue from 32 to 42 per cent for all States and did away with special block grants.
�The contention of the Central Government is that after the Central tax share was increased by 10 per cent, there is no further need of special assistance,� Sangma said.
Stating the Northeastern States have unique financial problems and cannot be considered on a par with other developed States of the country like Maharashtra, Gujarat, etc., Sangma maintained that the region has a long way to go to catch up with the rest of the country in terms of development.
�The problem is with the Government of India and not with the States as it is treating the North East on a par with the other States of the country,� he said.
The Chief Minister informed the House that the Northeastern States have collectively taken up the issue with the Centre which, in turn, formed a sub-committee to dwell on the concerns raised by them. However, during this period, the Centre has taken unilateral decisions on funding for the North East.
Terming it �dangerous for the Northeastern States� if the Central Government does not understand the financial problems of the region, Sangma said that concerns are being raised in an appropriate manner with the Centre.
Reiterating that there is a �disconnect� between the Centre and the State governments of the region, Sangma said the Central leadership needs to understand the problems and also clarify on other issues like the funding pattern.
The funding pattern for the North East is 90:10, with the State governments bearing 10 per cent of the funds for Centrally-sponsored projects. Sangma said the State Government would not change the funding pattern. �We will not change our funding pattern,� Sangma asserted.