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Assam House passes resolution on Special Category status

Assam Legislative Assembly on Wednesday unanimously passed a resolution requesting the Centre to continue with the Special Category status for the state, ensuring larger share of central assistance to various schemes.



Guwahati: Assam Legislative Assembly on Wednesday unanimously passed a resolution requesting the Centre to continue with the Special Category status for the state, ensuring larger share of central assistance to various schemes.

"The resolution is unanimously passed," Assembly Speaker Pranab Kumar Gogoi said in the House.

Earlier, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Rockybul Hussain introduced a resolution in the House that sought greater share of central funding in the schemes by the Union government.

Hussain said central share in Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan scheme is 70 per cent, while the same for Rajiv Gandhi Panchayat Sashastrikaran Yojana is 75 per cent.

The central assistance in schemes like Command Areas Development, National Mission on Agriculture Extension and Technology and Assistance to State for Infrastructure Development for exports have been fixed at 50 per cent, 75 per cent and 80 per cent respectively, he added.

"The state expresses deep concern at the above departure from the entitled Special Category status...It may be stated that Assam is a resource poor state and the internal generation of revenue resources cannot commensurate with the salary expenditure," the Minister said.

He further said the salary expenditure percentage, which is estimated to be 60-65 per cent in 2014-15, will increase more once the state government implements the 7th Central Pay Commission' recommendations for the pay and pension structure.

"The 13th Finance Commission prescribed the (salary expenditure) limit of 33 per cent. But many states, including Assam, could not adhere to the same and it is requested that after the report of 14th Finance Commission, the above ceiling may be released.

"In view of above, Government of India is requested to take necessary remedial measures looking at the Special Category of the state," Hussain said.

All the opposition parties such as AIUDF, AGP, BJP and BPF supported the resolution and requested the Centre not to withdraw the status.

The resolution was introduced after the Assam government joined hands with opposition Asom Gana Parishad yesterday in the House in flaying the Centre for giving lesser grants to the state in 14th Finance Commission that is likely to affect the economic growth.

Former Chief Minister and AGP leader Prafulla Kumar Mahanta had raised the issue inquiring if any step is being initiated by the Centre as reported in a section of media to withdraw the 'Special State' status conferred on Assam.

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi had appealed the House, including the BJP members, to unanimously oppose the recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission and pressing the Centre to continue with the Special category status.

According to recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission, Assam will be given a total grants-in-aid for revenue deficit in 2015-20 of Rs 3,379 crore.

The highest grants-in-aid has been recommended to Jammu & Kashmir at Rs 59,666 crore, followed by Rs 40,625 crore for Himachal Pradesh.

For North Eastern states like Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura, the grants-in-aid for revenue deficit for five years are higher than that of Assam at Rs 10,227 crore, Rs 12,183 crore, Rs 18,475 crore and Rs 5,103 crore respectively.

Only Meghalaya has been recommended lesser grants-in-aid for revenue deficit in the table than Assam at Rs 1,770 crore.

From Zee News

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