GUWAHATI, April 1 � Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi has called upon Prime Minister Narendra Modi to retain the Special Category State status to Assam and other states of the North-east. He also said that the funding pattern of the Centre-sponsored schemes should not be changed.
In a letter to the Prime Minister, the Chief Minister said that Special Category States like Assam were earlier getting funds on a 90:10 basis and the Budget for the current financial year was also prepared, on the assumption that the funding pattern of the Centre-sponsored schemes would remain the same. The sudden change of the funding pattern would create an additional burden on the State�s resources, he said.
Gogoi said the Assam Legislative Assembly had recently passed a unanimous resolution that there should be no dilution in the status of Assam as a Special Category State. There would be considerable uncertainty about the requirements of financing the State Plan and other important priorities for Special Category States, unless there was a clear assurance from the Centre about meeting the requirements.
Outlining the role of strong states, Gogoi said the states have to assume a much larger and more important role in the nation�s development. Real Cooperative Federalism was a laudable objective; however, it was important that it be clearly defined so that it could be attained in tangible terms. �I have stressed on various occasions the necessity of giving more resources, greater freedom and a stronger voice to the states, as a one-size-fits-all approach does grave injustice to the diversity of our country. We have to accept that all states and regions have their unique strengths and weaknesses along with varying potentials and possibilities. For states like Assam, which rely heavily on the financial support from the Centre owing to a variety of reasons and will continue to do so in the immediate future, the quantum of Union financial support will have to increase even further. This brings into focus the crucial need for more public investment to narrow the gap that exists between the developed and not so developed states of the country,� Gogoi said in the letter.
Gogoi said that the development agenda should primarily be inclusive, covering all communities and giving a special thrust and emphasis on those sections which require special attention
Describing the recommendations of the Fourteenth Finance Commission path breaking Gogoi pointed out, as the Commission suggested not just increasing the State�s share in the divisible pool of resources but also makes a fundamental paradigm shift in the pattern of financing revenue expenditure. The Commission has recommended that the devolution share of resources to States from the divisible pool of Central resources should increase overall from the earlier 32 per cent to 42 per cent.