Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma on Thursday said the state is expected to increase its own revenue resources by Rs 600 to Rs 700 crore once the fiscal responsibility and budget management (FRBM) is implemented.
“The state government had requested the Government of India to allow us to increase the FRBM from 3 percent to 5 percent. We hope we will be able to increase our own state resources by Rs 600 to Rs 700 crore once FRBM is implemented,” Sangma said while replying on the budget discussion in the Assembly.
He said the COVID-19 pandemic and the imposition of lockdown to contain its spread, has adversely affected the economy of the country as a whole with a corresponding impact on the revenue collection of both the central and state governments.
“The total state resources, tax and non-tax, collected in April 2019 was Rs 207.61 crore, the revenue collected in April this year was merely Rs 76.40 crore, a fall of Rs 131.21 crore in monthly revenue collection,” Sangma said.
Stating that the releases from the Centre have also been lesser than expected, the CM said, “While the budgetary estimate for monthly tax devolution was Rs 428 crore, we had only received Rs 352 crore in April, a shortfall of Rs 76 crore. Therefore, now we need to see how we are going to make up for this over 140 crore deficit.”
He said at a time when the revenues for the state and devolution from Centre are falling, the expenditure due to COVID-19 has increased by Rs 115 Crore.
According to him, more expenditure on health infrastructure, quarantine facilities and relief measures will have to be borne in the coming months.
The chief minister also assured that the government will ensure unnecessary expenditures are avoided keeping in mind that taking austerity measures is important.
Sangma on the other hand said the government has also realized the need to have technology innovation which will help the state take advantage of the present pandemic crisis.
“Technology and innovation will be an important part. We are going for strong data driven governance in a massive way,” he said. According to him, the government is already using technology in institutional deliveries to manage the COVID situation.
He informed that the Chief Minister’s Economic Task Force was also constituted to ensure the state is able to convert the COVID-19 crisis into an opportunity.
Stating that the Centre has sanctioned an economic package of Rs 3 lakh crore to MSMEs, Sangma said it is a collateral free loan with 100 percent gurantee by the Centre as he stressed on the need to take advantage of this.
He added out of this, Rs 5,000 crore has been earmarked for street vendors and Rs 6,000 crore will be for generation of employment in rural areas.
“Keeping this in mind, we have come up with the Meghalaya Economic Survey 2020 which is precisely to prepare us so that we will be able to take advantage (of the centre’s package). The survey allows us to map entreprenuers and to know their problems,” Sangma stated.
Stressing on the need to organize the self help groups (SHGs) as the key for rural development, the chief minister said once SHGs are set up, they can act as strong connectivity for implementing any government programmes.
He said there are 22,000 SHGs in the state, out of which 15,000 were formed in the last two years. “Out of this, 4,000 have received bank loans out of which 3,500 have received in the last two years. The total money given to SHGs is Rs 115 crore out of which Rs 88 crore was also given in the last two years,” Sangma informed while adding that the government’s target is to ensure one woman from each family will be part of the SHGs.
Commending on the performance of the C&RD department, the chief minister said the state has achieved 373 lakh person days in last year’s performance under the MNREGA and received an amount of Rs 1211 crore.
He said the amount is going to increase to Rs 1,330 crore which is closed to what Assam is getting and higher compared to other states.
“With the Centre’s decision to increase the budget for MNREGA to Rs one lakh crore from Rs 60,000 crore, the state is expected to get an increase of Rs 1,800 crore,” Sangma said adding the good thing about the scheme is that it directly benefits the poor.
Agreeing with the members on the importance of farmers’ welfare, the chief minister informed that the Meghalaya State Agricultural Produce and Livestock, Marketing, Promotion and Facilitation Bill, 2020 will give more power to the farmers.
“The Act will be a game changer and will impact farmers and agriculture in the state in a big way,” he said.
He also announced that the government has earmarked Rs 20 crore in the budget for creation of farmers’ infrastructure including markets.