NEW DELHI, Dec 19 � Faced with allegations of large-scale irregularities in the Transport Subsidy Scheme (TSS), Minister of State for Commerce and Industry, D Purandeswari sidestepped the issue, stressing that the Special industrial package for the North-east would continue till 2017.
Participating in a Question Hour discussion in the Rajya Sabha here this morning, AGP MP and former Union minister Biren Baishya alleged that large-scale corruption, and the large-scale irregularities are taking place in NER in the TSS. �There are industries functioning only for the name sake. �I think the CBI has also registered cases against some people on the subsidy that they are availing of,� he added.
In response Purandeswari said the TSS, initiated in1971, has been amended from time to time, and this is in implementation in 14 States and UTs, including the eight States of the North-Eastern Region. Since the inception of this scheme, Rs 2948.95 crore has actually been released to the State Governments including Rs 2490.73 crore for the North-Eastern Region itself. If there are any specific cases of misappropriation of funds, it can always be brought to the notice of the Ministry and Ministry will initiate action against them, she assured.
While replying to a question by Bhubaneswar Kalita, Purandeswari said the Special Package for Himachal Pradesh will be over in 2013 and the NEIIP, 2007, will, however, continue till 2017.
Earlier, Kalita said the in the tax-free zone in Himachal Pradesh the industries need not pay tax at all. But, in the North-East Region, including Assam, you have to pay the tax and then you get it back. �Whatever duties or taxes, which you are getting back after paying, these are considered as �income from other sources� and are taxed by the Income Tax Department. So, by one hand, you are giving the concession, but by the other hand, you are taking it back,� he complained.
In reply to a question, Purandeswari said Growth Centre Scheme was actually initiated in the year 1988 and there was a detailed impact evaluation that was conducted by the National Productivity Council (NPC), in 2006. �However, we do feel that the Scheme did not really take off or go the way we wanted this scheme to go. So, actually, this Scheme has been discontinued though the three Growth Centres in the North-Eastern Region.