CM’s bid to get relief for erosion
NEW DELHI, April 20 – Admitting that his struggle to have the norms for payment of relief from Calamity Relief Fund (CRF) revised to include erosion affected, has so far not yielded results, Chief Minister, Tarun Gogoi said he would continue to advocate further revision of items with the Centre.
Making a strong case for inclusion of erosion in the revised norms, Gogoi said though affect from floods are temporary setbacks, impact of erosion is permanent. Loss from erosion is permanent,” he said.
Assam has lost 4 lakh hectares of land due to erosions and it has affected nearly nine lakh people, he said.
On the recommendation of the Twelfth Finance Commission on financing of relief expenditure on natural calamities for the period 2005–2010 Government of India revised the norms and expanded the items and norms of assistance which include natural calamities of “landslides”, “avalanches”, “cloud burst” and “pest attacks”.
Meanwhile, riding on the back of a respectable hike in plan allocation by the Planning Commission, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi today claimed that the economic situation of the State has improved. The State Government is going to contribute Rs 2918.50 crore out of its own resources, of the total plan size of Rs 7,645 crore.
This aspect has to be high-lighted, Gogoi stressed because this is the amount that will come from State’s share. “This is something we couldn’t do earlier, which means that the State’s economy has improved,” he said.
“I want to impress upon the fact that we have been able to mobilize our resources and our earnings have gone up,” he claimed.
Pointing out that the State annual plan size has gone up several folds from Rs 1,520 crore in 2001 to over Rs 7000 crore, he recalled the time, when Assam had to divert 20 per cent of its plan allocation to pay salaries and wages to its employees.
Without naming the AGP regime, he rubbed it in by stating how 50 per cent of the plan money was diverted for payment of salaries. “Increase in plan allocation also means that we can spend more on economic development,” he said.
Listing out the thrusts areas, the Chief Minister said connectivity would accorded top priority, followed by education, agriculture and promotion of self help groups.
The Chief Minister said that impasse over the Below Poverty Line (BPL) figure has been resolved in the State’s favour according to recommendation of the Tendulkar’s Committee’s report.
The State’s BPL population was estimated at 36.09 per cent but in 2004-2005, it was pegged at 19.7 per cent, over ruling Assam’s opposition. Tendulkar Committee has put it at 34.04 per cent as against an all India average of 37 per cent, Gogoi said.
For the improvement in State’s resources, Gogoi held improvement in financial management, increase in plan allocation, resources mobilization, besides conversion of most of the Central Government Schemes to 90:10 pattern of funding.
Gogoi said focus also would be on uplift of small and marginal farmers in the State. At least 80 per cent of the State’s farmers are small and marginal with about less than one hectares of land holding and hence do not get seeds and fertilizer.
The State Government proposes to grant Rs 3,000 to the State’s estimated 21 small farmers, Gogoi announced.