12:41 am - Thursday August 22, 2019

Arun Jaitley has done injustice to northeast region: Tarun Gogoi

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GUWAHATI: Chief minister Tarun Gogoi has described Arun Jaitley’s maiden Union Budget as ‘a foul play against the entire northeast region’. He said Jaitley has done injustice to the region as a whole by allocating less than the compulsory 10% of the budget of all the departments in the non-lapsable pool of resources (NLCPR) meant for funding the NE region, which was started by former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee in 1998.

Gogoi said the region’s disparity with the rest of the country will grow deeper because of the flaws in the Budget.

“I am registering a formal complaint with the finance minister in this regard and I hope he takes steps to correct it,” he added. According to the NLCPR commitment, said Gogoi, the actual amount due to NE should have been Rs 1,79,489.20 crore and not Rs 53,706 crore.

“The finance minister has not kept the commitment made by Vajpayee. We have got much less than 10% of the total Budget allocation to all ministries and this is injustice to the entire northeastern region,” Gogoi said.

The NLCPR system was started in 1998 by Vajpayee to address the backlog and gaps of development of the region. The funds sanctioned to the state governments from the pool are in addition to the state plan resources and are accounted for outside the state plan.

In his Budget speech on Thursday, Jaitley also recalled this initiative of the previous NDA government, under Atal Bihari Vajpayee, to make the compulsory 10% allocation of plan funds for NE and had made them non-lapsable in nature.

Gogoi said BJP has failed to return the favour in the Budget to the people of Assam, who had poured their hearts out in the Lok Sabha election while voting for BJP.

“Before the Budget, the Centre had asked the state government for land for setting up an AIIMS in the state. We had already started identifying the location and land, but Jaitley did not give us the institute yesterday(Thursday) in his Budget speech,” Gogoi said.

He also criticized Jaitley for being generous with Ganga by allocating Rs 6,200 crore under two different schemes for developing the waterway and its cleaning and completely ignoring Brahmaputra, which is riddled with problems of flood and erosion.

“Before the Budget when I met Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he was very cordial and heard the issues and needs of the Assam. I was expecting much more for the state and am disappointed,” Gogoi said.

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