Retain special status for northeastern states, Modi urged


Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to retain the “special category” status and maintain the central funding pattern for all sponsored schemes on 90:10 formula of all the eight northeastern states.

The Congress leader, who also holds the finance portfolio, urged Modi to release the special block grants as was done by successive central governments besides enhancing adequate allocation of funds under Article 275 to enable the state to transfer funds to Autonomous District Councils.

“I urge your personal intervention for action on the issues urgently and to put in place policies and procedures which are beneficial to both the central and state governments, so that we can work together in a true spirit of cooperative federalism,” Sangma said in a letter to Modi.

Sangma also said the change in funding pattern for centrally sponsored schemes had put a lot of strain on the limited resources of the state and critically required investment have had to be put on hold.

Therefore, he said, the state government was now expected to fund schemes which have been delinked from central support as well as the ongoing Special Plan Assistance and Special Central Assistance schemes which were funded by the special block grants.

Moreover, he said the state is also expected to meet the requirement of erstwhile central programmes of judicial administration, police administration, environment conservation, civil defence and maintenance expenditure which have not been funded by the 14th Finance Commission.

“These factors have resulted in dislocation in the momentum of growth that the state has been able to generate in last few years. The result will be that Meghalaya and other northeastern states will not be able to catch up with the resource-rich states and thus with the rest of the country. The region will remain backward and in absence of development, our youth will be forced to migrate in search of opportunities, which do not augur well for the nation,” Sangma noted.

In recent times, the chief ministers of northeastern states have written to and met Modi urging him to retain the “special category” status besides maintaining the central funding pattern of 90:10 for them.