NEW DELHI, April 28 � In an unprecedented move, the Chief Ministers of the north-eastern states have jointly adopted a resolution seeking the Prime Minister�s intervention to continue with the Special States Category status to their states to ensure that they continue to avail the special financial help and assistance from the Central government.
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Chief Ministers have sought an appointment with him during the second week of May to discuss the resolution.
As reported by this newspaper, the NE Chief Ministers had wanted to pass a resolution at the Plenary Session of the North Eastern Council early this month, but Union DoNER Minister Dr Jitendra Singh managed to stall the move by pointing out that the Council was not the right forum.
Meanwhile, Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar took the initiative and drafted the resolution, which has since been adopted by the NE Chief Ministers. The resolution has been signed by Tarun Gogoi (Assam), Lal Thanhawla (Mizoram), Dr Mukul Sangma (Meghalaya), TR Zeliang (Nagaland), Nabam Tuki (Arunachal Pradesh), O Ibobi Singh (Manipur) and Paban Chamling (Sikkim).
The resolution, a copy of which is with this newspaper, said that after analysing the 14th Finance Commission�s recommendations and the Union Budget, it appears that virtually the status of the Special Category States of the NE is going to be discontinued. This will be nothing but a big blow to the interests of the NE states, that have been suffering from backwardness and under-development since long.
The dangerous and disastrous move cannot be accepted at this stage. The financial facilities used to be availed by the NE states as Special Category States should be allowed to be continued, the resolution pleaded.
The decision taken in the Union Budget (2015-2016) not to keep any provision under the Normal Central Assistance (NCA), Special Plan Assistance (SPA) and Special Central Assistance (SCA) will drastically affect the position of finance of the NE states.
The NE states suffer from infrastructure bottlenecks and are largely dependent on funding under the SCA and SPA to meet their infrastructure requirements. This should be continued for all the Special Category States under NE region, so that they can catch up with other parts of the country, said the resolution.
Moreover, there is a difference between the projected non-plan expenditure and the states� own resources. The entire gap of the non-plan expenditure used to be provided by the Centre for Special Category States. Now, despite the increase in the devolution of the Central taxes to the States, it would be difficult for the NES to meet the gap of the non-plan account unless additional amount of fund is sanctioned, the resolution said.