Mr. Speaker, Sir,
I rise to present the Budget estimates of the Government of Meghalaya for the financial year 1975-76.
The year 1974-75 has been one of the most difficult periods in the economic history of the country. During this period inflationary increases in prices had reached an all time high level. This was due to various factors both internal and international. The international factors were mainly the rise in price of crude oil and other petroleum products as also of the foodgrains in the international market. The erratic behavior of monsoon resulted in shortfall in agricultural production in the country. Moreover, there were difficulties in respect of power generation. As a combined effect of all these factors, the rate of growth of economy slowed down and some stagnation was noticed in the sphere of industrial production. There was a continuous upward trend in prices. The wholesale price index, with 100 (in 1961-62) as base, which had risen to 263.9 on 22nd December, 1973, reached the level of 328.7 in September, 1974.
2. With a view to curbing inflationary trends, the Government of India took corrective measures. Maximum possible economy was effected in the non-plan expenditure and every attempt was made to keep deficit financing within reasonable limits. In regard to the plan expenditure, there was more emphasis on productive schemes and core sectors. A number of ordinances were promulgated which have since become law. The object of these measures was to restrict the money supply and the purchasing power in the hands of the people so as to reduce the imbalance between demand and supply. Restrictions were also imposed on the payment of dividends by the companies. Another measure undertaken in this regard provided for compulsory deposit of specific portion of income by those in relatively higher groups of income by those in relatively higher groups of income-tax payers. The Reserve Bank of India also took certain steps such as tightening its control over bank credit, raising of bank rate and also raising of the rates of interest on deposits with a view to encouraging savings. The bringing in of smuggling within the purview of MISA and the necessary action in pursuance of this measure has resulted in curbing the black money. These measures have comparatively eased the situation. A distinct slowing down in the rate of money supply was noticed. The price indices have also shown a downward trend. There has been some improvement in the economy and the coming year is expected to show a better prospect in this regard.
The State Government have also taken such supporting action in this regard as was necessary and possible in the context of the situation in the State. Economy measures were adopted with a view to pruning the avoidable expenditure. Emphasis is being continued on productive sectors and schemes. Even though our budget for 1974-75 as presented, showed a net closing deficit of about Rs.94.75 lakhs it is expected that owing to better administration and recovery of resources, curtailment of nonessential expenditure by economy measures and better monitoring of the ways and means position the deficit would come down to a modest sum of Rs.11.79 lakhs as the year closes.
3. As many as seven waves of floods occurred in the entire plains areas of the Garo Hills and some low lying border areas and valleys of Jaintia and Khasi Hills. We had the heaviest known rainfall in living memory. There was extensive damage to the crops as well as to the dwelling houses, roads, bunds and culverts. The total area affected by the flood was 176.43 sq. K.M. and the total damage of crops, etc. has been very high. The measures taken by the State Government include extension of gratuitous relief in deserving cases as far as possible and the distribution of seeds on grant-cum-loan basis with a view to assisting cultivators. The total cost of test relief schemes undertaken to provide employment to the people in affected areas amounted to more than Rs.22 lakhs. The gratuitous relief sanctioned to the affected population amounted to Rs.2,12,258 and the seed loan-cum-grant amounted to more than Rs.5 lakhs. In this connection I would like to mention that the meagre provision of Rs.4 lakhs per annum for expenditure on natural calamities as made by the Sixth Finance Commission falls for short of the requirement and actual expenditure.
4. The size of the Fifth Plan has not yet been determined in view of the uncertainty on the resources front, due to the fast increasing prices, and other factors. In my Budget Speech for the last year, I had made a reference to the tentative allocation of Rs.84.21 crores for the fifth Five Year Plan of the State. This tentative size as suggested by the Planning Commission falls short of even the bare needs of development for the State and would require considerable step-up.
In the context of the present economic situation, the need for expeditious and effective implementation of plan programmes needs no reiteration. The only way to cope with the present situation is to take all steps to increase rate of economic growth and ensure expansion of activities in productive sectors.
5. Meghalaya's Annual Plan 1974-75 has an outlay of Rs.13.63 crores which includes an outlay of Rs.2.06 crores for the Minimum Needs Programme. According to tentative estimates, this outlay is likely to be fully utilised except in the field of Rural Electrification. he Rural Electrification Programme was based on the loans from the Rural Electrification Corporation (R.E.C.) to the extent of Rs.1.30 crores. the progress in the formulation of these schemes by the A.S.E.B. was rather slow and a major part of the amount is unlikely to be utilised. Apart from this, no other major shortfall in the utilisastion of Plan outlays is anticipated this year, and most outlays would be fully utilised. the N.E.C. schemes for Meghalaya during 1974-75 up. Besides there are Centrally Sponsored Schemes to the extent of Rs.199.01 lakhs.
|Reappraisal of the Priorities||
6. In the light of the current economic situation a reprisal of the Plan priorities has been done and a new strategy has been decided. In view of the escalation in the cost of in-puts increase in outlays seems necessary. considering overall constraint of resources. Substantial increase in the Plan outlays does not seem possible. However, outlays in certain productive sectors for the Annual Plan 1975-76 have been stepped up. Apart from placing emphasis on productive programmes under Agriculture and allied sectors in view of the requirements of the State, emphasis on transport and communication is also necessary. The building up of communication net-work is considered necessary for developing infrastructure for Industrial Development as well as for improving marketing facilities for agricultural produces. Increased emphasis on power development is also necessary for ensuring development of irrigation facilities for agricultural production and facilitating industrial development in the State. In this context, the State Government expect that their requirement for power development and generation schemes will be given due consideration by the Planning Commission and the Government of India.
|Plan for 1975-76||
7. As the result of a series of discussions with the Planning Commission, the tentative outlay for the annual plan for 1975-76 has been fixed at Rs.14.73 crores including the provision for loans to Government servants for house building which from the current year is being depicted in the Plan aside of the budget. The Plan outlay also includes an allocation for power of Rs.2.13 crores which is the amount to go directly to the State electricity Board from financial institutions such as the Life Insurance Corporation and the Rural Electrification Corporation. This excludes the outlay for power generation and transmission schemes as well as the major part of the outlay on the administrative buildings which, according to the latest scheme of classification, has to be accounted for in the Plan. The question of augmentation of plan outlay in keeping with these requirements has been taken up with the Planning Commission. We expect just and fair consideration of our requirements in this regard from the Planning Commission and the Government of India.
8. I have broadly describe the current economic situation, both in the country and in Meghalaya and the priorities and outlays of our Annual Plan for the next year. The details of the economic programmes of the Government have been furnished to this august House through a supplementary note which has been laid in the House. I would not, therefore, like to take the valuable time of the House in repeating what has been said in that supplement. However, before I proceed on to discuss the important aspects of the Budget proposals for 1975-76, I would like briefly to go through the performance and the programmes of the Government in important economic and administrative fields.
9. That Agriculture should from the sheet anchor of any programme of economic development in a pre-dominantly rural society, such as ours, needs no emphasis and has been well recognised. Thus in the scheme of Planning Agriculture and its allied sectors have been accorded the highest priority. Our programme for Agriculture envisaged an annual growth rate of 4 percent for foodgrains production and 4.9 percent for other crops during the Fifth Five-Year Plan. The estimated foodgrains production in 1973-74 is 1.25 lakh tonnes. A 4 percent increase on this base figure has not been possible during 1974-75 as the current year has been one of the most unfavorable years for agriculture. Hon'ble Members are no doubt fully aware of the devastating and consecutive floods which affected our summer paddy (Ahu) as well as the winter (Sali) paddy in the plains areas of Garo Hills district. The upland paddy grown in the hill areas of the State was also badly damaged due to the unprecedented high level of rainfall during the year 1974. It may be of general interest to mention here that at Cherrapunjee, the world's renowned wettest place, the rainfall during 1974 was 2455.4 cms or 982 inches as against 1093.6 cms or 437 inches during 1973and this was perhaps this highest ever recorded. The increase in rainfall in most of the other areas of the State was more or less of similar proportion during 1974 compared to 1973. A general reduction in the average agricultural yield during 1974-75 was therefore feared. However, the State Government took action to provide winter paddy (Sali) seeds to the major affected areas for subsequent replanting whenever possible and also seeds for Rabi crops such as Boro paddy, Wheat, Mustard, Pulses etc. Owing to the measures taken to offset the damages caused by the flood, it is anticipated that the foodgrains production would remain during 1974-75 , at least at the level of 1973-74 i.e., 1.25 lakh tonnes.
The target for foodgrains during 1975-76 is 1.35 lakh tonnes. This is expected to achieved through various programmes including an increase in area under high yielding varieties of crops, application of fertilizers and manures and other improved practices.
Potato is an important crop of the State. Last year, the crop was seriously affected by 'blight' caused by unfavorable weather conditions and high rainfall and the anticipated higher yield could not be achieved. Steps are being taken to introduce better yielding and disease-resistant varieties, particularly Kufrijyoti, in large quantities.
n the horticultural front, a special programme for rejuvenation of Citrus orchards has been started on a limited scale. Depending has been started on a limited scale. Depending on its success, the scheme would be taken up more intensively.
10. Irrigation schemes, as was mentioned by me last year, are now taken up only departmentally. A number of schemes have been surveyed covering all the districts and work on 3 flow irrigation schemes and 5 lift irrigation schemes are under process. These may not be completed during the current year but would benefit the farmers from next year onwards.
11. With an outlay of Rs.1.00 crore during 1974-75 and Rs.1.10 crores during 1975-76, Soil Conservation represents a major and important programme of economic development in the State. 14 programmes, 8 in Garo Hills and 3 each in Khasi and Jaintia Hills, have been taken up to settle about 900 jhumming families under permanent cultivation practices. The programme is bold and novel. It represents efforts to lift people, used to primitive methods of destructive and labour expensive agriculture, to a different level of agricultural technology involving new skills and tools. A Soil Conservation Scheme in Garo Hills with and outlay of Rs.8.35 lakhs is being taken up during the current year under the N.E.C. programme .During 1975-76, the package programme for controlling shifting cultivation would continue and another 900 families are expected to be benefited. In addition, extension of permanent cultivation areas in other places, erosion control measures, development of fodder and pasture areas, etc., would continue.
12. Animal Husbandry is an integral part of an Agricultural economy. The programmes of the Government in this sector are designed to increase Veterinary facilities, strengthening of the livestock and poultry farms to meet the requirements of breeding stock to step up production of protective and protein rich foods, like milk, meat and eggs and to educate the farmers in modern livestock husbandry technology. Various measures have been taken to achieve these objectives. The establishment of the Indo-Danish Project and establishment of poultry and cattle farms have been mentioned in my last budget speech. These programmes have progressed satisfactorily . The N.E.C. has also sanctioned a Dairy development project at Nongstoin and a crossbred cattle breeding farm at Kyrdemkulai during the current year and work on these projects would commence soon. Hon'ble Member would be happy to know that in the All-India Livestock Show held in Delhi in November last year several of our exhibits won prizes in competition with livestock brought from other States advanced in Animal Husbandry. One of the severe handicaps faced by the Government in this sector is lack of adequate trained personnel. Attempts are being made to train more personnel for this purpose.
13. In the sphere of co-operation, emphasis is being placed on all the aspects of co-operative movement, namely, marketing, expansion of the consumers co-operatives and rural credit. With a view to utilising the co-operative institutions as effective channels of marketing agricultural produce, and to assist them in their endeavours in this regard, a Co-operative Apex Marketing Federation is being set up. For the extension of rural credit for productive purposes, taking up of necessary measures for bringing down the over-dues is necessary . The consumers Co-operatives play an important role as links in the chain of public distribution system for essential commodities. It is expected that with the implementation of the Master-Plan drawn up by the Department in consultation with the Reserve Bank of India, the co-operative movement in the State will show the desired improvement.
14. As Hon'ble Members are aware, the Development blocks in Meghalaya perform more functions than similar agencies in other States. They are virtually the focal points of local administration and function as administrative outposts or units. In order to involve local leaders and non-officials more in the programmes of the Block agency, the Government have appointed non-official Chairman. This is an important step in promoting the functioning of the Block as an integrated unit of planning and development. Programmes such as Appalled Nutrition Programme, covering 7 Blocks, Special Nutrition Programme, covering 6 blocks, Special Nutrition Programme, etc., continues to be administered through the Blocks. I had mentioned in my last Budget Speech about the proposals to channelise funds for development through the Block agencies. The allocation fro this purpose will be Rs.21.00 lakhs for the year 1975-76.
The allocation for the Blocks at present also includes the outlay sanctioned by the Government of India for the Tribal Development Blocks from the next year has come as a shock. The question of continuing the financial assistance for the Tribal Development Blocks has been taken up with the Government of India.
|Special Programme for the Backward Classes||
15. As the Hon'ble Members are aware, though the entire State of Meghalaya is backward, yet there are areas which are more backward compared to the remaining areas in the State. The Fifth Plan of the State includes a special programme for the development of these areas. The programme includes a survey to identify in a more definite and precise manner the backward areas on the basis of accepted economic indicators and preparation of integrated project reports for making up the gaps in development in these areas. This special programme is also being implemented through the Community Development Department.
16. The programme relating to development of communication consists of the schemes for construction of new roads and surfacing of the existing roads. Work on the construction and improvement of strategic and border roads, national high-ways and roads under the schemes assisted by the North Eastern Council is also proceeding satisfactorily.
17. Apart from the Associated Beverages, Meghalaya Plywood's and Komorrah Limestone Mining Company Ltd., which are functioning a beginning has been made towards utilisation of tezpata by the setting up of a distillation centre of Meghalaya Essential Oils and Chemicals Ltd., at Mawshamok. The distillation of tezpata will enable the processing of one of the important produces of the border areas. the work relating to the setting up of a jute mill is in progress. Work on the setting up of Fruit processing and canning units and roller flour mill will also start soon. The proposed clinker factory will provide the nucleus for industrial development and exploitation of the resources of Nangalbibra areas in Garo Hills. The programme for expansion of sericulture and weaving and small and cottage industries in the State will continue under the plan.
|Supplies of Essential Commodities||
18. Our State has to depend to a very large extent for supplies of essential commodities on sources outside the State. At present the responsibility of arranging foodgrains supplies rest with the Food Corporation of India. for anxiety due to the breakdown of supplies. The State Government took the necessary supporting action by setting up of check-gates to prevent smuggling of foodgrains outside the State. The supplies of essential commodities will be maintained through the public distribution system and the co-operative consumers stores and fair price shops.
19. The schemes already undertaken continue. Work on the improvement of Shillong as an important tourist centre has been progressing. A tourist festival organised in Shillong in October, 1974, evoked good response Development works on providing facilities to tourists at the Tura Peak at Tura and improvement of the Thadlaskein lake at Jowai have been taken up.
|Labour and Employment||
20. A State Employment Market Information wing and a training wing for Industrial Training Institute and Apprenticeship training have been set up at the State Headquarters. Other earlier schemes are continuing. The number of employment seekers in the registers of the five Employment exchanges in the State on 31st December, 1974, was 7027 as against 6927 on 31st December 1973, with a slight rise in the number of educated employment seekers (matriculates and above) Most of the persons registered belong to the age group of 20-24 years followed by those between 15to 19 years.
Measures have been and will continue to be taken by the Government to provide employment opportunities through Plan Programmes as well as other measures.
21. The scheme for creation of flexible sausage dams across streams to provide proper protection to fish from indiscriminate exploitation has received good response. Attempts to introduce exotic varieties of fish like Trout in the streams and reservoirs are also being made.
22. The Hill areas of the Sate provide ideal climatic and geographic conditions for the abundant growth of forests which from the most beneficial renewable resource for the State. Development of forest wealth of the State is essential for preventing soil erosion and building up raw materials for the growth of agro-industries in the State. Considering the large areas of forests under the control and management of the District Councils, the efforts of the Government will be to work in close co-operation with the Councils. the setting up of Forest Development Corporation in which the District Councils have been given due representation, is a step in this direction.
23. The programme for educational development includes expansion of universal primary education in accordance with the national objectives. The programme also includes schemes for taking over of M.E. Schools and starting of Government High Schools. Another important scheme in this regard is the strengthening of Science teaching in the colleges. The State Government have extended and will continue to extend full assistance to the North Easter Hill University. Proceedings for acquisition of land for the campus of the University have been initiated and the State Government will provide the necessary fund for the purpose. The starting of a pre-examination training Centre for the coaching of candidates for I.A.S. and Central Services and the re-starting of the U.P.S.C. Examination centre for All-India and Central Services at Shillong are events of significance and these would help considerably in equipping our youth to compete in these examinations. The programme for social welfare and promotion of sports and games are continuing.
Realising the need to provide proper education to the children of families having a nomadic existence due to shifting cultivation, the Government have decided to open three residential schools, each for about 100 students, The work on construction of these schools with hostel facilities would start soon.
24. The extension of medical facilities is an essential part of the social service sector of the developmental programme of the State. There are signs of perceptible improvement in the availability of doctors and para-medical personnel. The work relating to improvement of hospitals and dispensaries will continue. Expansion of primary health services is also continuing as part of the minimum needs programme in this sector.
25. The occurrence of floods in extensive area of the State during the current year has highlighted the necessity for flood control work. The necessary provision in this regard is being continued in the State Plan.
26. Preliminary work has been commenced on the New Jowai Water Supply Scheme. The Greater Shillong Water Supply Scheme could not be started yet and the revised proposal to avoid submergence of dwelling houses by reducing the height of the proposed dam are under scrutiny. Three waster supply schemes were taken up at three areas in the Border and two more such schemes are likely to be taken up during the current year.
27. With the creation of a separate Meghalaya State Electricity Board and transfer of all the generation, transmission and distribution systems located in Meghalaya to it with effect from 20th January, 1975, the stage is now set for accelerated activity in the matter of Power development and use in the State. Under the North Eastern Areas (Re-organisation) Act, 1971 , the final division of assets and liabilities of the composite Assam State Electricity Board is still to take place and this process is expected to be completed soon. The new M.S.E.B. would place emphasis on speedy completion of the Kyrdemkulai project and has already approached the L.I.C. for provision of finances for this purpose. The North Eastern Council has sanctioned funds for investigation of some hydel projects like Kynshi, Lashka and Umiam Stage IV. While the investigation of Umiam Stage IV has already commenced, the work on the other investigations is expected to be taken up in consultation with concerned local authorities and public leaders. The N.E.C. has also sanctioned the Kopili hydel project on the border of Assam and Meghalaya and has authorised the new A.S.E.B. and ME.S.E.B. to commence preliminary work in their respective areas. The inter-state aspects of this project are under discussion between the Governments of Assam and Meghalaya at present
As the Hon'ble Members are aware, Meghalaya is rich in hydel and mineral resources for generation of power. A judicious exploitation of these resources can contribute to the development of our State and other States and units in the north-east.
28. The State continues to explore a number of areas for investigating its rich mineral deposits. Important among them are the work undertaken to prove the mine ability of the coal reserves in the West Darrenggiri coal belt for feeding the proposed Themal Power Plant and the Clinker Plant in that area, the investigations in the Mawlong-Ichamati coalfield, etc., besides the investigations for limestone in Jaintia Hills Districts mentioned by me last year.
29. The routes taken up by the Meghalaya State Transport undertaking are being maintained with required passenger services available fleet. Steps already taken for bifurcation of the Assam-Meghalaya State Transport Corporation are progressing.
|Land Reforms Commission||
30. The Land Reforms Commission submitted its report on 30th November, 1974 and it is now under examination of the Government. A copy of the Report is placed on the Table of the House. The printing of the report is expected to be completed within a months' time and all the Members of the House will be sent a copy of the printed report.
|Border Areas Programmes||
31. A sum of Rs.50.00 lakhs has been earmarked for expenditure for the speedy development of the Border areas in the State bordering Bangladesh, during 1974-75. The Schemes in this regard cover all important rural development sectors. In addition, the scheme for subsidy on transport of supplies to these areas has been continued. The proposed outlay on the Border areas programme for 1975-76 is Rs.65.00 lakhs. An administrative machinery for proper co-ordination of development activities in the Border areas has also been evolved.
|Budget for 1975-76||
32. Having touched upon the broad details of the development programme of the Government, I will now mention briefly the main features of the Budget Estimates for 1975-76. The total estimated receipts during 1975-76 will amount to Rs.72.41 crores including Public Accounts as against the revised estimates of Rs.69.60 crores for 1974-75. The estimated figure of expenditure for 1975-76 is Rs.73.27 crores.
During 1975-76 there will be a surplus of Rs.1.99 crores on the revenue side whereas the capital including Public Accounts will end up with a deficit of Rs.2.85 crores.
According to the indications available so far, the Central Plan assistance during 1975-76 will remain at the level of current year, that is Rs.8.85 crores. The Government of India have so far agreed to open market borrowings for the State Government at the level of Rs.2.20 crores which is much less than the figure of Rs.3.87 crores of actual market borrowings during the current year. The question of increasing the market borrowings for 1975-76 to the current year's level is being pursued within the Government of India.
33. The Budget estimate for 1975-76 show an over-all deficit of Rs.97.99 lakhs. I regret very much that I am presenting a deficit budget. The deficit has arisen due to circumstances beyond our control. The main reasons for the deficit are the reduction of the open market borrowing limit by the Government of India from the current year's level of Rs.3.87 crores to Rs.2.20 crores which has resulted in diminution of over-all resources, as also the anticipated increase in expenditure due to the payment of salaries and dearness allowance to the State Government employees consequent upon revision of pay-scales. I am confident that it would be possible to wipe out this deficit provided the Government of India agree to the proposed level of market borrowing and also make us available the expected financial assistance.
|Economics and mobilisation of resources||
34. We are prepared to contribute our share in the national efforts for mobilisation of resources. Considerable economy was effected in the non-plan expenditure during the current year as a result of which the estimated closing balance is reduced to Rs.(-)11.79 lakhs as against sentation of the Budget Estimates for 1974-75. Hon'ble Members may recall the the Meghalaya (Sales of Petroleum and Petroleum Products including Motor Spirit and Lubricants) Taxation (Amendment) Bill, 1974 passed by this august House provides for increase in the rate of taxes on petroleum products. The President's assent to the Bill is awaited. The assessment of resources for the plan for 1975-76 includes mobilisation of resources by the State Government to the extent of about Rs.5.00 crores by way of market borrowings, loans from Life Insurance Corporation, Reserve Bank of India, etc. An additional resources mobilisation of Rs.15 lakhs has also been included in the estimates. The Taxation Enquiry Committee set up by the Government will submit its report soon and its recommendations may result in increased accruals to the State Exchequer. I also propose to introduce the Meghalaya Amusement and Betting Tax (Amendment) Bill during the current session which provides for increase in the rates of taxation on entertainment tax and will help in additional mobilisation of resources.
The Meghalaya Passengers and Goods Taxation (Amendment) Bill which is also proposed to be introduced during the current session will facilitate rationalisation of the Passengers and Goods Taxation structure.
35. The Budget placed before the august House by me today contains a blue -print of the Government's programme towards achieving the objective of all-round development and prosperity of the people of Meghalaya. The situation today is full of challenges and it is the privilege and duty of us all to put in our maximum endeavour towards the realisation of the ideals of elimination of poverty and attainment of self-reliance to which we are committed as a democratic nation.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, with these words, I present the budget for 1975-76 for consideration and acceptance of the House.
THE FINANCIAL POSITION FOR THE YEAR 1975-76 WITH
POSITION IN THE PREVIOUS YEARS.
|Rupees in Lakhs|
|Capital under the Consolidated Fund||1400.85||876.57||561.34||448.01|
|Capital Receipt under the Contingency Fund||58.37||37.95||75.00||75.00|
|Capital Receipt under the Public Account||13878.26||9349.18||3292.03||3456.07|
|Capital Expenditure under the Consolidate Fund||1507.55||730.76||827.00||838.35|
|Capital Expenditure under the Contingency Fund||77.94||18.79||75.00||75.00|
|Capital Expenditure under the Public Account||13960.71||9472.26||3108.83||3350.73|
|NET RESULT :-|
|(a) On Revenue Account||(-)68.94||(-)225.09||(+)390.17||(+)198.80|
|(a) Outside Revenue Account||(-)208.72||(+)41.89||(-)82.46||(-)285.00|
|(c) Net excluding the opening Balance||(-)227.66||(-)188.20||(+)307.71||(-)86.20|
(+) Indicates Surplus and (-) indicates Deficit.