Mizoram Finance Minister Lalsawta presented a second vote-on-account budget of Rs 1,823 crores for the current financial year before the assembly on Tuesday, saying it remains impossible to present a regular budget because the Centre has not yet issued clear directions on how finances for Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS) are to be shared.
The Finance Minister also warned that Mizoram “being a resource deficient state… may not be in a position to take up certain Centrally Sponsored Schemes.”
“We have not yet received clear cut instructions from the concerned Ministries of the Central Government about the exact ratios of sharing pattern of various CSSs which cause difficulty in presenting a regular budget,” Lalsawta said.
“Even though the recommendation of the 14th Finance Commission was in favour of state governments by increasing the share in taxes from 32% to 42%, the discontinuance of the Special Category Status of the North-Eastern states has caused insurmountable financial problems,” he added.
Chief ministers of the seven Northeastern states and Sikkim had earlier sought PM Narendra Modi’s intervention to continue with the Special States Category status to their respective states. The CMs had each signed on a resolution demanding the same” calling the move to exclude them from the status a “dangerous and disastrous move” that “cannot be accepted” because of the infrastructure bottlenecks the states face due to geography and location.
Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar had last met Modi in New Delhi to press him on the issue, but Sarkar returned to Agartala only to say Modi “did not give any assurance regarding our demand” and had instead directed Sarkar to discuss it with the NITI Ayog.
The PTI news agency reported that Sarkar also criticized the PM by asking, “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?”