Himanta Biswa Sarma says Assam to get Rs 5,000 cr more after Centre junks special status

With the announcement of Centre's decision to withdraw the Special Category States status accorded to a select few states by Minister of State for Planning Rao Inderjit Singh in Parliament, the confusion prevalent in Assam over its financial standing has been put to rest.

Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma. Image from Sarma's Facebook page

Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma. Image from Sarma's Facebook page

According to a report in The Economic Times, the North Eastern Council had in the last year passed a resolution that it worried that the Centre would end the Special Category States status following a recommendation by the 14th Finance Commission.

Already struggling with a huge financial crisis, Assam's finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma was however quick to pass on the buck to former prime minister Manmohan Singh, alleging that he had agreed the proposal to remove the special category status from the state.

However, Sarma also offered a healing touch saying the state won't plunge into a financial paralysis as Assam would be getting an additional Rs 5,000 crore from the Centre instead besides the existing support.

The state Finance minister informed the the Legislative Assembly that the "special category status" has been replaced with a new term, "special treatment", the Northeast Today said.

Providing details in the House on Monday, the minister said that out of 112 schemes, 48 would have 100 percent financial support from the Centre while 58 of them would have funding in the 90 (Centre):10 (state) ratio. Three schemes will be funded in a 80:20 ratio, while one will follow the 70:30 pattern.

Two of the remaining schemes will follow the 50:50 format.

Incidentally, Sarma presented the maiden budget of the Sarbananda Sonowal-led BJP government in the state on Tuesday.

The Pratidin Time reported that the Assam finance minister tabled a Rs 2,880.91-crore deficit budget in the assembly for 2016-2017 with a liability over Rs 14,000 crore.

Sarma said that the government will try and rebuild the economy to deliver the change the people sought.