Shillong, June 7: Unlike neighbouring Assam, Meghalaya today obtained more than what it had initially bargained for from the Planning Commission in New Delhi.
During a meeting in New Delhi between the deputy chairman, Planning Commission, Montek Singh Ahluwalia, and Meghalaya chief minister Mukul M. Sangma, the state’s annual plan size for 2012-13 was fixed at Rs 3,939 crore, an official communiqué said.
The amount approved was Rs 404 crore more than what the Meghalaya cabinet had decided to seek from the commission.On April 4, the Sangma cabinet agreed to seek Rs 3,535 crore. For 2011-12, the annual plan outlay for Meghalaya was fixed at Rs 2,727 crore by the commission.
Ahluwalia said Meghalaya had been “performing well”, but he advised the state government to take necessary policy initiatives to strengthen the industrial sector.
While pointing out that the petrochemical sector needed promotion, Ahluwalia said efforts should also be made to fully exploit the areas of tourism and art and craft.
The commission also advised the state government to make full use of science and technology in improving development. Meghalaya should also encourage public private partnership in all sectors of economy, it said.
Sangma said that as part of its inclusive growth strategy, the state government had decided to transfer funds, functions and functionaries of major departments to local institutions.
He also said funds had been allocated separately for SC/ST and OBC under every head of plan expenditure.
For the Twelfth Plan period, Sangma said the government would accord priority to accelerate development of both physical and social infrastructure and introduction of policies that will encourage private sector participation in infrastructure development.
Focus would also be on education and health so that benefits of development would reach all sections of society, Sangma said.
He said fiscal discipline with enhanced focus on revenue generation would continue to be the priority of his government.
Ahluwalia said the commission would have a major focus on “water management” during the ongoing Twelfth Plan period. To bring the issue into national focus, a meeting of all the chief ministers would be convened in the near future.
Ahluwalia said the country needs a focussed approach to manage efficient use of water. It was suggested that states like Rajasthan should take the lead in introducing legislative measures for water regulation.
At the meeting with Ahluwalia, Sangma was accompanied by Bindo M. Lanong and Rowell Lyngdoh, the two deputy chief ministers, and other senior cabinet ministers and officials.