SHILLONG, March 20: Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma termed the State’s Budget 2017-18, which he had presented last week as “balanced” and “realistic”, which would meet the aspirations of particularly the poor, the rural people, the youths and the job seekers.
“The Budget is inclusive and has taken care of developmental gaps and it will set a yardstick for future prospects and prosperity of the state. This Budget has set a new benchmark that the state requires,” he said, while replying to the debate on the Budget discussion.
Refuting claims of the opposition that the Budget has failed to adhere to conditions laid down by FRBM Act in terms of fiscal deficit, Dr Sangma, who also holds the Finance portfolio said, “The fact that Meghalaya is getting funds under Externally Aided Projects stands testimony of the fiscal health of Meghalaya. “Dr Sangma also said the issue of debt and debt servicing is regulated and when the state borrows it cannot be done whimsically.
The chief minister said the year 2016-17 was a crucial year for the state because it is the base wherein the Centre will look at what are the revenue available with the state prior to implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST). “The state government has set the ball rolling by setting up of a Corpus fund to disburse payments of salaries to job card holders under MGNRGES and also for scholarships to students in case there is delay in releasing of funds by the Centre,” he said.
On the tourism sector, Dr Sangma informed that last year seven lakh domestic and 7000 foreign tourists visited the state even as he called for the need to promote high end tourism. “High end tourism will generate huge revenue for the state,” he said.
Earlier, taking part in the debate on the Budget, opposition United Democratic Party (UDP) legislator, Paul Lyngdoh said the speech was a rehash of the last four year’s Budget. “I am concern over the fact that members on the floor of the House expressed their lack of confidence in the system and in its ability and credibility to deliver,” Mr Lyngdoh said.
The UDP legislator from West Shillong pointed out to MLAs threatening to knock on the doors of their judiciary or pray to God to get their problems solved. “If MLAs threatens to go to the judiciary or turn to God to solve their problems this shows that we are losing faith in the system,” the UDP legislator said.
Mr Lyngdoh said the education system in the state is flawed and it needs to be revamped. Lyngdoh said that today the system is encouraging “learning by rote”.
Featured image(courtesy): Business Line-file photo