New Delhi, April 28: The Planning Commission today approved a Rs 30-crore increase in Assam’s annual plan outlay and lavished praise on the Congress government for “higher mobilisation of tax and non-tax revenues, better expenditure management and reduced borrowings”.
The outlay for 2003-04 was fixed at Rs 1,780 crore, which chief minister Tarun Gogoi described as adequate for his government’s development plans.
“At first glance, the Rs 30-crore increase over the outlay for the last financial year would appear insignificant. But the increase in the development component is an impressive Rs 480 crore. This is because the salary component of Rs 450 crore has been shifted from the plan to non-plan head,” he told newspersons after the meeting.
Initiating the discussion on the annual plan, Planning Commission deputy chairman K.C. Pant had applauded the Gogoi government for its commitment to fiscal reforms but expressed concern over the high incidence of malnutrition in the state.
Gogoi later said his government hoped to bring about changes for the better in several sectors. He said the quantum of funds earmarked specifically for development was the highest in the past decade.
Minister of state for planning and agriculture Himanta Biswa Sarma said the salary bill of Rs 905 crore during 2002-03 had “severely curtailed” availability of funds for development.
“Now that a part of it has been transferred to the non-plan head, as much as Rs 1,325 crore of the outlay will be available for development schemes.
The salary component in the plan has been brought down to 25 per cent and our target is to reduce it to 10 per cent next year,” he said.