NEW DELHI, Feb 21 � Setting speculations at rest , Commerce, Industry and Textile Minister, Anand Sharma ruled out the possibility of rolling back Transport Subsidy Scheme (TSS) though he hinted at the possibility of reviewing the negative list. The coke industry is likely to include in the negative list.
A crucial meeting convened by the Commerce, Industry and Textile saw the North Eastern States opposing the move to dilute the North East Industrial Investment and Promotion Policy 2007. Assam and Meghalaya supported the proposal to put coke industry in negative list in the face of opposition by Nagaland and Mizoram. Meghalaya Chief Minister, Dr Mukul Sangma was the one Chief Minister, who attended the meet.
The North Eastern States (NES) called for maintaining status quo on TSS and opposed the move to shift the railway head from Siliguri to Guwahati, Tinsukia and Dimapur.
The Commerce and Industry Minister spelled out his Ministry�s strategy to develop trade and commerce. He mentioned about developing infrastructure facilities to promote border trade and improving road connectivity. He proposed to hold a special session on North Eastern States during the ensuing ASEAN heads of state meet at the special ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit scheduled later this year.
The Prime Minister and Sharma are separately travelling to Myanmar later this year and the focus would be on the Look East Policy and the trade with the North Eastern States.
When asked Anand Sharma told this newspaper that there was no question of discontinuing the TSS to the NES. The region is industrially backward. But the idea is to review the negative list, he said.
But there are some issues that need to be looked into, he said, adding that he would not like to say that there was rampant corruption though there were reports of some misuse.
�I believe that the time has now come to give a focused and integrated thrust to the development of North Eastern Region. While provision of subsidy will remain an important element in catalyzing industrial development, equally important will be a thrust on infrastructure development within the region and linkages with the rest of the country.� he said.
Later an official spokesman said, �We are now in the process of revamping the scheme and in doing so, we had undertaken a detailed study of the operation of the scheme over the last several years and the matter will be referred to the Cabinet, incorporating all your suggestions, for a final view.�
The meeting discussed the proposed definition of �Manufacturing�, amendment to the negative list of TSS, expansion of existing list of designated railheads. The views of states were also obtained on the issues of cap on value of transported goods, linkages between transport subsidy and employment generation. The meeting also explored the ways of incentivizing transportation of raw material and finished goods by inland water transport and Additional incentives to MSME sector.