GUWAHATI, July 25 - Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma today proposed a censure motion against former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for allegedly being responsible for hurting Assam�s interest by various policies followed by the previous UPA Government.Replying to a debate on the Special Category State Status for Assam in the Legislative Assembly, Sarma said that the 14th Finance Commission, which was constituted by the UPA headed by Singh, had recommended doing away with the differentiation between Special and Non-Special Category States by enhancing the share of States in central taxes from 32 per cent to 42 per cent.
He also pointed out that similarly the UPA Government had hurt the interest of Assam by underpayment of oil royalty.
Sarma said that �willingly or unwillingly�, the decisions of the UPA Government had hurt Assam.
�A commission formed by the Manmohan Singh Government recommended removal of special category State status. So let us censure Manmohan Singh for repeatedly hurting Assam�s interest,� said Sarma.
He, however, did not press the point, regarding the censure motion, further, even as the House listened to him in silence.
Sarma said that nomenclature aside, Assam continues to enjoy �Special Treatment� with regard to Central funds.
The Finance Minister said that of the 112 Central schemes being implemented in Assam now, 48 have 100 per cent Central grant, while another 58 are being run on the 90-10 funding pattern, with the State Government�s share at 10 per cent. Three schemes have 80-20 funding pattern, one has 70-30 and two are 50-50.
�What is in nomenclature? We are no bothered about name. We are now getting �Special Treatment� with all characteristics of Special Category State and with even more schemes having 100 per cent Central share of funding,� Sarma said.
He said that the controversy over the Special Category State status is a political one and said that even smaller States like Manipur or Arunachal Pradesh, which are Congress ruled, have not raised the issue.
Sarma said that the Sub-Group of the NITI Aayog headed by Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan had categorised States and Union Territories into three segments, with the North Eastern States along with three Himalayan States being put in one category where core sector schemes will receive 90-10 funding and optional schemes under 80-20 financing pattern.
�So if I say that we are still getting benefits like a Special Category State, am I wrong? It is only a matter of nomenclature. The issue is being raised to divert attention of the people from real problems� For schemes like Digital India, Gujarat will receive funding under the 50-50 pattern, while Assam will receive it under 90-10 pattern,� Sarma said.
Earlier, initiating the debate, Congress MLAs Rakibul Hussain, Ajanta Neog and Sherman Ali called upon the Government to provide clarity regarding the issue of whether Special Category State status is still being enjoyed by Assam.