NEW DELHI, Feb 28 � The Union Budget has evoked mixed response from the MPs of the North-east even as they plan to move the Prime Minister shortly to seek his intervention in resolving some of the vexed problems.
While the Congress MPs welcomed the Budget, they were in agreement that the MPs of the region needed to meet the Prime Minister in order to fulfil some of the demands.
The MPs plan to highlight the dilution of the Central Excise Duty in the context of the North East besides restoration of Excise Duty exemptions on finished products made in the NE region. They also plan to press for continuation of 100 per cent Income Tax Exemption as provided by the NEIPP 2007.
Meanwhile, Congress chief whip Paban Singh Ghatowar welcomed the Budget, stating that a conscious effort has been made to cover all sectors with special emphasis on social and infrastructure sectors which have witnessed sharp hike in allocation. In case of the North-east, the special Central allocation has been doubled and special allocation of Rs 5,400 crore earmarked as untied funds.
Reacting to the Budget, Badruddin Ajmal (AIUDF) said that no specific steps have been taken for addressing the regional imbalance which is a major drawback of this Budget. The Budget has totally failed to address the special needs of the North Eastern States, especially Assam.�
The budget for the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region has been increased from Rs 1759 crore in 2010 to 1762 crore. Increase of only Rs 3 crore for eight States is nothing but a joke. Ajmal said it is a matter of real concern that the demand for sealing the Indo-Bangladesh border has been totally ignored. Instead, non-plan capital outlay for Indo-Bangladesh border work has been reduced from Rs 519 crore to only Rs.3 crore, he pointed out.
Describing the Budget as very disappointing, former Union Minister Biren Baishya (AGP) said it has no special provision for employment generation and no measure for curbing inflation. Though IIT, Kharagpur has been given special allocation, no funds have been allocated to Gauhati and Dibrugarh universities or any of the Central universities in the region besides IIT, Guwahati.
Stating that the Budget does not reflect the pace of development, Ramen Deka of the BJP said the Special Central Assistance announced in the Budget is not enough to meet the development needs of the eight States. The North-east has been given a raw deal, he said.
Rajen Gohain, also of the BJP, said that it was a bitter pill that Mukherjee had given ahead of the Assembly polls. The North-east and Assam have been totally neglected, he lamented.
Biswajeet Daimary of the BPF said though the Budget has nothing specific for the North-east, the States too are responsible of not making workable plans. For instance, he said, Assam has been demanding that flood and erosion problems needed to be accorded national problem status, but a detailed project report on resolving the flood and erosion problems is yet to be prepared and submitted to the Centre. �It is only when such plans are submitted that specific demands can be made for additional Central allocation,� he said.
His colleagues Sansuma Khunggur Bwiswmutiary had harsh words and said that the BTC has been humiliated by allocation of only Rs 50 crore.
He added that 60 Left wing extremist districts have been given special allocation. The region is also insurgency infested. Why has no such allocations been made for the NER? he wondered.
Reacting to the Budget, Kumar Deepak Das said that the Budget is not for aam admi. Though there were special schemes for poll-bound States, Assam was left out.