PM Non-Committal on Continuing Special Status to NE States: Sarkar

PM Non-Committal on Continuing Special Status to NE States: Sarkar

Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar today said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had remained noncommittal during his recent discussion on the demand to continue the Special Category status for North Eastern states.

A resolution for continuing the Special Category status of the eight North Eastern states was taken following discussion with the Chief Ministers of the states concerned and a memorandum in this regard was sent to the Prime Minister on April 23 last, Sarkar said.

"Finally the Prime Minister called me for discussion on the matter on Tuesday last and I attended the meeting after discussion with my counterparts of the region.

"The Prime Minister told me that share of central taxes has increased by 10 per cent for the states. He told me to discuss the matter with the NITI Ayog," Sarkar told reporters here.

He said, "However, he agreed to remain present at the meeting of the North Eastern Council (NEC) and hear from the chief ministers of the region, but did not give any assurance regarding our demand."

Expressing his displeasure on the delay in response to the resolution of the NE states regarding the special category states demand, the Chief Minister said, "The Prime Minister talks of co-operational federalism and team India, but how those things will be implemented if the chief ministers cannot talk to the Prime Minister?"

"In the meeting, several issues related to financial assistance from the Centre were discussed thoroughly. I told him (PM) that Tripura used to receive around Rs 23,000 crore annually in three different heads - Normal Assistance, Special Plan Assistance and Special Central Assistance, till 2014-15," he said. 

Sarkar said, he had told the Prime Minister that North Eastern states would be in big trouble if the extra financial assistance was not given to supplement the Planning Commission's contribution.

"It is a welcome step that the 14th Finance Commission has increased the share of central taxes from 32 to 42 per cent, but the total allocation for states has been curtailed after dissolution of the plan panel," he pointed out.

During his meeting with the Prime Minister, Sarkar said that he also brought up the change of sharing pattern of various centrally sponsored schemes.

"Earlier, North Eastern states used to receive outlays under centrally sponsored schemes on 90:10 sharing pattern. The Centre has now changed sharing pattern of the different schemes," he said.

Sarkar said the Prime Minister has told him that the Centre would require Rs two lakh crore to supplement the Planning Commission's assistance to the various states and he would consider on how to assist the deficit states after receiving reports from NITI Aayog.

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