Agartala, Jan 17 (IANS) The 15th Finance Commission Chairman N.K. Singh on Thursday suggested the northeastern states to accelerate resources and revenue to strengthen fiscal position.
“The northeastern states must accelerate own resources and revenue to build up sustainable fiscal situations. Each northeastern state has unique features and challenges,” Singh told the media.
Accompanied by two other members of the commission — Ashok Lahiri (former chief economic adviser) and Anoop Singh (former Georgetown University professor) — the Chairman said that there are huge resources and opportunities in the region, these must be tapped properly.
N.K. Singh, Former Planning Commission member, said that the connectivity between the area and rest of the world could be improved by using the Chittagong sea port, which is just 72km away from southern Tripura, and the other infrastructure of Bangladesh.
“We would support these states to face challenges and improve growth trajectory and would take sympathetic view for their all round growth,” he emphasised.
To a question over special category tag for the northeastern states, he stressed that this must be continued.
Currently, the eight hilly states, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Uttarakhand have the special category tag, which are getting higher financial support from the Centre.
Praising the Tripura government’s efforts to make it an “ace-model state”, Singh said that there are potentiality in tourism, agriculture and other sectors.
“With proper utilisation of the talents of the human resources, qualitative changes could be done. Bamboo, forest resources and diverse industrial potentiality could be harnessed properly. We would give a careful look to the state government’s demands, aspiration and vision,” he added.
Singh said that after visiting remaining 12 states including three northeastern states — Meghalaya, Mizoram and Sikkim — Commission would submit its report to the government this year end for the five-year period starting April 1, 2020.
The panel was constituted by the Centre government in November 2017.
Singh and his other members of the commission held meetings with the top functionaries of Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council, Panchayati Raj Institutions, urban local bodies, representatives of various organisations of industries and commerce besides leaders of recognised political parties.
The Commission on the second day of its three-day consultation programme on Thursday met the council of ministers led by Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb and top government officials led by Chief Secretary Lalit Kumar Gupta.
The commission members and officials on Thursday visited a giant 726 MW capacity power plant, set up by the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation sponsored company — ONGC Tripura Power Company — at Palatana in southern Tripura.
Besides all the northeastern states, the power plant is also supplying electricity to Bangladesh (160 MW).
Tripura is the 17th State of India that the Finance Commission visiting.
An official of the finance Department of Tripura said that the state government has demanded at least 50 per cent share in net taxes from the existing 42 per cent.