Government of Meghalaya
Budget Speech

1974 75

By

Shri Brington Buhai Lyngdoh

Finance Minister, Meghalaya

12th June, 1974

 

Mr. Speaker Sir,

    The Budget which I am privileged to present to this august House today, marks the completion of the Fourth Five Year Plan and beginning of the Fifth Year Plan.

     Our country at present if facing one of the most difficult periods since independence. the inflation, acute shortage of raw materials, coal, electricity, petroleum and petroleum products thwarted the efforts of the country  to achieve the stipulated growth-rate. The total food-grain production in the country during 1972-73 is estimated at about 95.2 million tons as compared to 104.7 million tons in 1971-72 and 108.04 million tons  in 1970-71. The economy faced an acute inflationary pressure. The wholesale price index  number (1961-62=100) rose from 192.8 in April 1972 to 256.2 in October 1973. There has been further escalation of prices since then  and the index stood at 283.2 in March, 1974. Of course, this inflation and price escalation is to some extent part of the world-wide phenomenon. Thus, in Britain, the rise in price in 1973 has been of the order of 10 percent for consumer prices and 19 percent for food prices. The corresponding  figures in the United States are 8 percent and 20 percent respectively. The steep rise in prices of petroleum and petroleum products have further aggravated this phenomenon. Non-availability of food items and essential commodities during the most part of last year resulted in extensive unrest in several States in the country giving rise to law and order problem. This unfortunate trend has posed a threat to the very fabric  of our democratic set up. With steep fall of about 9.5 percent in agricultural output in 1972-73 and negligible increase in the rate of growth of indusial production, the indications are that in the Fourth Plan, the national overall  rate of growth would be considerably lower than the planned target.

     Certain physical and monitory measures were taken by the Government of India to combat inflation. These related to restraining unproductive spending in public and private  sectors. the Reserve Bank of India also tightened its monitory and credit control measures and the bank rate was raised. The cash reserve ratio required to be maintained with the Reserve Bank of India by every scheduled  Commercial Bank was also increased substantially.  It is a matter of deep concern that despite these measures, prices have continued to rise.

PROSPECT FOR THE CURRENT YEAR

2.    During  the current year, the economy will face greater challenges. Nevertheless, the spirit of the leadership and of the people of the Country is still high, ready to meet the great challenges of our time in pursuit of economic growth  and Social Justice and to continue our onward march. The oil crisis while increasing our difficulties offers and opportunity to boost up our exports. The successful testing of a unity to boost up our exports. The successful testing of a nuclear device for peaceful purposes recently marks a significant achievement of science and technology in the country under the able guidance of our beloved Prime Minister for which we can legitimately be proud of. I am confident that  with unity and devotion of purpose we will be able to meet the challenges effectively and continue our march forward.

STATE OF ECONOMY IN MEGHALAYA

3.   There  is no doubt that economy of the State was over-strained due to the influence of powerful forces of national economy. By virtue of its size and dependence on outside supplies for most of the essential commodities, the State Government could do very little to counter the influence, of the adverse factors faced by the nation as a whole. Production of food-grain in 1973-74 in the State was anticipated to be higher than in the previous year, but the damage  to the standing crops by heavy floods in some parts of the State is likely to have adverse repercussions on the total food production of the State. Reports of acute scarcity conditions have already come from Garo Hills

FOURTH PLAN ACHIEVEMENT

4.    On the eve of the launching of the Fifth Five Year Plan, it is in the fitness of things to review broadly the activities during the Fourth Five Year Plan. The total outlay for the Fourth Plan for Meghalaya was fixed at Rs.38 crores by dividing the Assam Hill Plan of Rs.65.75 crores. The implementation of the Fourth five Year Plan in the initial years suffered due to the lack of adequate personnel in vital sectors of development and the heavy influx of about seven lakhs of evacuees from Bangladesh during 1971. In spite of all the handicaps, the total estimated expenditure under the Fourth Plan of the State including  the expenditure for 1969-70 under the composite State of Assam was Rs.37.44 crores.

       I will briefly indicate achievements in terms of physical targets in regard to certain important programmes of the Fourth Plan. The total  road length  at the end of the Fourth Plan stood at 3.350 kms  as against 2.649 kms  at the beginning of the Fourth Plan. In the sphere of Education, the number of educational institutions at the end of the Fourth Plan is estimated at 2,815 as against 1,914 in 1970-71. The number of hospital  beds at the end of the fourth Plan stands at 313 as against 175 at the beginning of the Fourth Plan. In regard to water supply, the total number of villages covered at the end of the Fourth Plan stands at 130 and approximately 1.5 lakhs of rural population could be brought under the scheme for supply of drinking water. In the sphere of rural electrification, the number of villages covered at the end of the fourth Plan stands at 139 as against 52 in 1968-69.

        This will show that the achievements during the fourth Plan in terms of physical and financial  and financial targets has been satisfactory, yet considering the back log of development in the State much has still to be done during the next plan period.

FIFTH PLAN OF THE STATE

5.   The Fifth Plan proposals as put before the Planning commission amounted to Rs.203 crores. The requirement for additional outlay in the Central sector for the border areas, development of "specially backward" and "most backward" areas, etc., amounting to Rs.21  crores was also placed before the Commission. As against this, the working group's recommendations totaled to Rs.90.67 crores and the tentative allocation based on  the recommendations of the Programme Adviser amounted to Rs.84.21 crores. It has been made known to the Planning Commission and the Government of India that the tentative allocation or Rs.84.21 crores is totally inadequate and required substantial augmentation especially in respect of the requirements for generation and transmission  of powers, and in regard to  large and medium industries sector the final size of the State Plan is likely to be determined after the meeting of the National Development Council, and  we expect that our State will get a sympathetic consideration in allocation of Plan finances in view of its backwardness and other special requirements.

PRIORITIES AND STRATEGY FOR FIFTH PLAN

6.     Within the overall frame-work of the national priorities and aims and objective of elimination of poverty and fulfillment of the "minimum needs" programme, the Fifth Plan for Meghalaya will put greatest emphasis on the development of agriculture as the vast majority (82 percent) of the population of the State solely depend on agriculture and the allied sectors. The Plan will aim at self-sufficiency by way of increased agricultural production, diversification of agriculture and improvement of horticulture with added emphasis on animal husbandry and poultry programmes, with a view to stepping up  production of food-grains  and protective food items. The tentative outlay for the Fifth Five Year Plan of Meghalaya for agriculture and allied sectors is Rs.18.94 crores being  22.49 percent of the total outlay. In financial terms the outlay on roads is larger being Rs.24.50 crores (29.10 percent). This is to be judged  in the context of the availability of larger flow of institutional finance through co-operative structure nationalised banks and Agricultural Refinance Corporation  and Agricultural Finance corporation, etc., to the Agriculture and Allied Sectors which if  taken altogether would account for much larger  total investment for Agriculture. Hon'ble Members will agree that the emphasis on the building of road network as the basic infrastructure for economic growth and facilitating the disposal of produces is necessary. In the sphere of agricultural development, the main thrust of our strategy would consist of an integrated programme for control of jhum and grouping of villages. The integrated approach would not only provide for terracing and land improvement but also aims at development of infrastructure for grouping of villages such as link roads, schools, water supply schemes, etc., and will  ensure follow-up  action in regard to the re-forestation of  areas freed from jhum. I am glad to inform the House that our integrated programme for jhum control has been appreciated by the Planning Commission and we have been given assurance of full support in executing the programme. The total allocation for the  programme during  the Fifth Plan Period would amount  to Rs.4.00 crores and there is every likelihood  of its being augmented depending upon the successful implementation  of the project. During the current year, the amount earmarked for Soil Conservation including Jhum control is Rs.1.00 crore which is substantially higher than the amount of Rs.50 lakhs expended on the schemes during 1973-74.

      While fully emphasizing the necessity for concentrated efforts in agriculture and allied sectors and development of roads network, the Fifth Plan of the State also provides for development of industries with the objective of providing  alternative means of occupation for eventual surplus rural  population  and the already Unemployed  educated and semi-educated youth in the Urban areas of the State. The industries will aim  at ensuring utilisation of agro products and  natural resources of  the State. This would involve the setting up of industries for fruit processing, pulp and paper unit, jute mill and the industries based on utilisation of limestone  and coal such as the cement plant.

POWER DEVELOPMENT

       The development of power in the State is necessary with a view to building up of the infrastructure for the development of industries and agriculture providing the base for improved agricultural practices. The State has vast hydro  potential resources and several large scale hydro  electric projects could be built up not only for meeting the requirements for power in the State, but also for feeding the national grid with power. In view of the vast coal reserve in the State and particularly Nangalbibra in Garo Hills District, potential for a thermal power project in the State is also very bright. Moreover, the vast coal reserves in the State could be utilised  for production of petroleum and petro-chemical products. It  will be the constant endeavour of the State Government to ensure realisation of these projects in the State through the State Plan and the Central sector.

SOCIAL SERVICES SECTORS

         As the Hon'ble Members are aware, at present the exercise is being conducted in regard to reformulation of the Fifth Plan with a view to readjusting priorities and it is learnt that less emphasis is considered necessary  in regard to social services sector. In the local condition in Meghalaya, due emphasis  is necessary  in regard to the essential schemes in this sector  such as the development of water supply and extension of health facilities which are the basic minima for enabling the people to put in their best in sustaining the efforts for Planned Development of the State. The expansion of educational facilities to sustain developmental efforts by providing the necessary  technical manpower and the development of necessary infrastructure is also necessary. In this context, I would like to refer to the objective accepted at the national level to introduce universal education in the age group6-11 by 1975-76 and in the age group 11-14 by 1980-81. This objective has been accepted by the State Government and the Fifth Plan of the State will aim at its  realisation and qualitative improvement of primary and middle school education in the light of the national objective. With a view  to meeting the special needs of the tribal students in the interior areas of the State, it is proposed to set up ashram type of residential schools at primary level for imparting education in a suitable environment  particularly to the children drawn from the families of cultivators engaged in jhum.

ANNUAL PLAN FOR 1974-75

 7.    The outlay for the current year's Plan has been fixed  at Rs.13.63 crores which is 23 percent more than the outlay for 1973-74. The question of making additional allocation for power generation and transmission schemes has also been taken up with the Planning commission and the Government of India.

REVISION IN BUDGET CLASSIFICATION

8.   The structure of the budget classification has been changed in the budget documents presented today. The new accounting classification prescribed by the Comptroller and Auditor General is designed to reflect the functions, programmes and activities of the Government. The old classification had the objective of ensuring control over the appropriation made by the Legislature to the Executive and was based on the structure of Government Departments in which the transaction took place. The classification now adopted seeks to reflect distinctively the broad functions and major  programmes  of activities of the Government. It is hoped that the new system will facilitate an easier analysis of the programmes and activities of the government and will  pave the way for performance budgeting. 

SIXTH FINANCE COMMISSION

9.   For the first time the requirements of the State were scrutinised by the Sixth Finance Commission. The Government  under  the leadership of the Chief Minister, made out a strong case before  the Sixth Finance Commission for larger devolution and grants-in-aid to the State. As the Hon'ble  Members, are aware, the Sixth Finance Commission  was empowered to assess not only the non-Plan revenue gap but also to recommend rescheduling of outstanding debt liabilities, and measures for covering non-Plan Capital gap of the State. The Commission's recommendations for Meghalaya  though falling short of our requirements will go a long way towards improving the budgetary position of the State. Meghalaya will receive as devolution of its share from taxes, etc., Rs.12.85 crores  during the next Fifth Plan period. Grants-in-aid under Rs.275 of the Constitution during the same period for the  State will amount to Rs.74.67 crores as against the total of Rs.11.64  crores received by the Government of Meghalaya  in the Fourth  Plan Period. The Commissions  has also recommended rescheduling of debt liability by allowing  a debt relief of Rs.7.64 crores to Meghalaya by was of moratorium on various types of loans. The Commission has also  accepted the State Government's view point relating to its special needs for upgrading the standards of administration.

      I am, however, constrained to observe that the Commission's recommendations  do not meet some of our basic requirements. In this connection, the rejection by the commission of our requirements for border transport subsidy scheme and for aid to the District Councils is rather unfortunate. The District Councils are statutory bodies  set up under the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution  and the State Government are bound to give them adequate financial assistance with a view to ensuring their proper functioning. Another respect in which the recommendations of the Finance  Commission do not come up to our expectations relates to the revision of scales of pay and other emoluments of the State Government's employees. The Commission has taken credit for the pay remission as on 1st January, 1972 and increase in dearness allowance upto 1st May, 1973 and had left further increases to be taken care of the by the "expected buoyancy in tax revenues". The State Government have accepted in principle  the recommendations  of the Assam Pay Commission  whose report was available after the above-mentioned  dates. The allowance made by the Commission for relief against natural calamities,  that is, Rs.4 lakhs  for the  five year period is also extremely insufficient. I would like to emphasise that the State Government are likely  to face budgetary difficulties in view of the requirements in this regard not having been fully met  by the Sixth Finance Commission.

IMPORTANT PROGRAMMES IN SELECTED DEVELOPMENTAL SECTORS

10.    A summary containing the achievements under the Fourth Plan and the main developmental programmes for the current year has been circulated along with the budget documents. However, I would like very briefly to mention a few salient features of our programmes under main developmental  sectors.

AGRICULTURE AND HORTICULTURE

11.  To increase the food-grain production in the field of Agriculture which is the mainstay for the people of Meghalaya, steps have been taken mainly through introduction of high yielding varieties of seeds, plant protection measures and use of fertilizers. Area under the high yielding varieties rose to 8,000 hectares in 1973-74 compared to 1,840 hectares in 1969-70. Multiple cropping is being popularised through demonstration programme. Improved seeds are being  supplied  at subsidised rate and steps will be taken to start a large size farm during the Fifth Plan  period. Apart from  more model orchards and progeny orchards being started, there is a proposal to set up a seed-testing laboratory during 1974-75. As a part of plant protection measures, aerial spraying or  pesticides was undertaken over a large area of Garo Hills  for the first time during last year. The horticultural development programme in the State will be intensified by taking up multiplication  and  and extension of the cultivation of the National Programme for Half-a-Million  Jobs, which is likely to tackle the problem of die-back disease in Citrus for which Indian Council of Agricultural Research proposes to start regional research station.

IRRIGATION

12. So long  development of irrigation was done mainly  by giving grants-in-aid  to the farmers. It is now proposed to take up all programmes departmentally by re-organising the Irrigation Wing of the Agriculture Directorate.

ANIMAL HUSBANDRY DAIRY DEVELOPMENT AND FISHERIES

13.    The State of Meghalaya  , with its congenial geophysical  condition and bracing climate provides great scope for Livestock  and Dairy Development. One composite livestock farm at Tura, and another at Kyrdemkulai have been established  during 1973-74. Indo-Danish Project, about which I  mentioned in my last Budget Speech, is making good progress. The Project covers the supply of 120 cows  and 12 pedigreed bulls by the Government of Denmark and other forms of assistance. Out of this, 60 cows and 6 bulls have already arrived. In the sphere of poultry development, a new  Regional Poultry Breeding Farm has been sanctioned under N.E.C. Development Programme. The Departmental poultry farms reached a good record of egg production during 1973-74. A special border area piggery development scheme has been implemented in Garo Hills. It is proposed to establish  one Veterinary dispensary at Nongpoh and another at Simsangiri during the current year. In the field of dairy development  it is proposed to establish a rural extension centre in the Milk  shed areas of Nongstoin. The chilling plant at Nayabunglow is functioning well. A group of cattle farmers were sent to Anand  and Bangalore last year to study cattle and diary development work.

       In the sector of fisheries development, apart from setting up of fish seeds farm in each subdivision and extending assistance to pisciculturists, it is  proposed to breed fish in reservoir also.

CO-OPERATION

14.   The  State Government have accepted the recommendations  made by a team of the Reserve Bank of India indicating the guide lines for taking up a "Master Plan"  for the reorganisation of Co-operative Credit  structure in Meghalaya. With the object of giving effect to these suggestions, the Meghalaya Co-operative Apex Bank will open Branches in  the State  to enable it to provide direct finance to the Primary Agricultural Credit Societies for Agricultural operations.  The rural Credit structure will be strengthened and necessary amendment of the Co-operative Act will be made to provide for amalgamation and liquidation of Societies as may be necessary in the process  of re-organisation. The main aim is to make the re-organised societies viable units ensuring better service and credit facility to the rural population. It is proposed that potentially viable societies would take up multipurpose activities such as supply of inputs, consumer's goods, etc., besides distribution of credit. The recommendation that the present Assam Hills Development Corporation be converted to the Apex Co-operative Marketing Federation has been accepted and action on this line has already been initiated. The Marketing Federation will be able to expand its business of distribution  of fertilizers and take up marketing of State's produces on a sound footing.

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

15.   There are 24 Blocks in the State of which 4 are in  Stage II and 20 in Post-Stage II. Over and above the usual allocation under the C.D. Programme for the Blocks an amount of Rs.10 lakhs has been provided under "nutrition" during 1974-75. Besides 5 ANP Blocks which are in operation, it is expected that one new ANP Block will be allotted  by Government of India during the year. Under the special Nutrition programme which is continuing since 1972-73, it is proposed to organise 300 feeding centres during 1974-75 which will benefit 30,000 beneficiaries. As preliminary Draft Plan  for integrated Area Development  of Bhoi Area has recently been formulated  and further action will be continued during 1974-75 in this regard.

     With a view to enabling the Block to function as useful and effective channels of development, it has been proposed to channelise certain portion of plan funds of various development departments through Block agencies. A total provision  of Rs.30.18 lakhs is proposed to be made for this purpose  for execution of schemes of various development departments through Block agencies. These provisions  will cover various development sectors like Roads, Soil  Conservation, Animal Husbandry, Co-operation, Small Scale Industries , Nutrition and Waster Supply.

FOREST

16.   Forest constitute one of the most important natural resources of the State. Due to the constitutional provisions of the Sixth Schedule, only 3 percent of the forest area is under the direct management and control of the State Forest Department, much  larger area being under the jurisdiction  of the  three District Councils. There has been a steady increase in revenue by optimum utilisation of the forest resources. Due priority  has been given under the plan schemes for re-generation of forests with economic species like plywood, teak, sal, etc., and during 1973-74, 241 hectares of plantations have been raised. Advances work for raising 560 hectares of plantations in 1974-75 is also underway. Apart from the re-generation of forests with economic species, the State Development Schemes cover other important programmes like cultivation of medicinal plants, development  of forest cultivation, establishment of forest recreational areas, etc. During 1974-75, 8 more trainees are proposed to be deputed to Forest Rangers College. The department  is short of technical staff and to tide-over this difficulty, training programme has also been taken up under Half-a-Million Jobs Programme at the Soil conservation Training Institute, Byrnihat. 

HEALTH

17.    The Main problem with which the State has been confronted right from the beginning is the lack of medical  and para-medical personnel. Under the Minimum needs programme in the Fifth Plan all the twenty four C.D. Blocks will have a primary health Centre each. This will facilitate to a large extent adequate coverage in the rural areas which are les adequately covered  in terms of health and medical Care facilities than the urban areas.

EDUCATION

 18.    In the field of education, the Government of Meghalaya have appointed 250 Middle School teachers under Half-a-Million jobs Programme with a view to extending educational facilities in the State and relieving the educated un-employed persons. Three  thousand five hundred Schedule Tribes and 30 Scheduled Caste students have been awarded Central Post-Matric Scholarships. Stipends have also been distributed to Border students who are studying in the Schools and Colleges. It has been decided to step up the activities of Social Welfare Department as well as to assist the  voluntary Organisations doing social, welfare work. The question of establishing a Government girls High School at Jowai is also under examination. It is proposed to raise the status of the tribal language tutors in selected cases.

COMMUNICATION

19.    The road system is the only means of communication in the predominantly hilly State of Meghalaya, there being no railways or waterways. Apart from adding substantially to  the total road length, some important and major bridges have been constructed during the Fourth Plan period. It is proposed to achieve a total road length of 5,111 Kms during the Fifth Plan period as against 3,350 Kms at  the end of the IVth Plan. Priority will be given to spill-over Schemes, construction of missing road links, improvement of existing road surfaces and connecting markets, industrial areas, agricultural belts, etc.

FLOOD CONTROL

 20.   Though Meghalaya consists mostly of hill areas, there are certain plain  areas in the foothills of Garo Hills and Jaintia Hills  which are affected by floods causing heavy damage to lives and properties. With a view to taking up the flood  control and protection work and irrigation schemes, a separate division has been created under the Public Works Department.

PUBLIC HEALTH ENGINEERING

21.   The Government are fully  alive to the problem of scarcity of drinking waster in rural areas and are making all possible efforts for is solution. The amount earmarked for Water Supply Schemes in the Fifth Plan is Rs.8.00 crores as against Rs.1.95 crores in the Fourth Plan which amounts to an increase of more than three times. A total number  of 130 villages with population of 1.50  lakhs are expected to be covered with Water Supply Schemes  by the end of the Fourth Plan. In drawing up the schemes,  high  priority has  been given  to the villages having  no water supply within as radius of  one mile and mountainous areas which are also at a disadvantage  in the matter  of water supply. Steps have been taken to execute  the schemes approved by the Government of India under accelerated Rural Water Supply Programme. The work on greater Shillong  Water Supply Scheme is proposed to commence soon.

SUPPLY

 22. The supply position  of food and essential commodities has been difficult. at times critical, as it has been in various part of the country as a whole. Our State, being deficit area in the food-grains production is dependent upon the supplies from outside to meet its requirement. It is hoped that the Government of India will be in a position to increase the monthly allotment for rice in the coming months. The State Government  have also decided to make a beginning inn procurement of food-grains in the State. Efforts are being made to procure at least 2,000  tons of rice in Garo Hills through the Food Corporation of India  on an experimental basis so that the stock can be used to supplement the Central allocation in the lean months. Steps are also being taken to procure mustard seeds in Garo Hills to supplement the supplies  from outside the State with a view to checking the abnormal rise in price of mustard oil.

TOURISM

23.   Apart from continuing the schemes taken up earlier, a scheme for conducting sight-seeing of the places of tourists 'interest  in the State has been taken up and three mini-buses have been procured for the purpose.

TRANSPORT

24.    The Meghalaya State Transport undertaking continued to provide service to the people by maintaining vital direct links between the outlying district, sub divisional headquarters and other important places with the Capital. The process of bifurcation of  the Assam  and Meghalaya State Road Transport Corporation has already been started. Meghalaya has found its place in the Civil Aviation Map of the country with the successful landing of aircraft at Umroi airfield on 22nd May 1974.

INDUSTRIES

25.    Efforts  are being made to ensure speedy implementation of expansion programme of Mawmluh-Cherra Cement Ltd. and supply of limestone  to Bangladesh by the Komorrah Limestone's Mining Co. Ltd. is continuing. Besides assisting the industries which are coming up in the State the efforts of the Department  will be directed to the working of the usual departmental schemes like the setting up of Lime Making Plant, assistance  to educated un-employed in getting machinery and equipments, encouragement to local entrepreneurs, etc. Scheme for granting outright  capital subsidy of 10 percent to 15 percent is in operation and a sum of Rs.17.82 lakhs has been sanctioned for disbursement to 68 industrial units. Package scheme of special incentives to entrepreneurs will continue.

SERICULTURE AND WEAVING

26.   Sericulture as an Agro-Industry holds out good possibilities in Meghalaya because of its climatic suitability. A sustained growth rate in this sector has been maintained, providing part of whole-time  employment to nearly 4,000 people. A Muga Farm was recently established at Resubelpara in Garo Hills District. A number of eri construction centres and collective mulberry gardens, have also been  established in different selected localities  for the benefit of rearers. It is proposed to organise intensive Oak-tassar rearing which has recently been taken up on experimental basis near Garampani Special training programme has been started in the different parts of the State.

POWER

27.   So far the State Plan has included only Rural Electrification Schemes which  were being implemented by Assam State Electricity Board. The  Government  have since taken a decision to have a separate Board of its own.

MINERAL DEVELOPMENT

28. The rich mineral deposits of the State are yet to be profitably utilised for its industrialisation. The prime objective in mineral development in the Fifth Plan beginning with 1974-75, is to intensify the programme of geological investigation in order to collect much-required data on the available resources of various minerals, their  quantity and suitability for commercial utilisation. Feasibility reports in  respect of utilising the Jaintia Hills limestone for the setting up of a calcium carbide-lime plant has already been completed. The  State Government is now engaged in delineating by ground survey  the  bunds of limestone most suitable as raw materials for the above  process. A new cell for  Survey and development is proposed to be started to tap the vast resources of minor minerals in the State.

PUBLIC RELATION 

29. The Department  of Information and Public Relations both at the headquarters and field level, is being strengthened to undertake the important task assigned to it. It is proposed to create Border Areas Publicity Cell in the headquarters and Information Centres at various places during 1974-75.

STATISTICS

30.   Plan formulation requires adequate  support in the research disciplines for datas collection, analysis, evaluation and monitoring. Recently a number of technical vacancies have been filled up. the State Directorate of Economics and Statistics have completed the census of Meghalaya Employees as on 31st March 1972, while the census for 1973 is in progress. The report on the Socio-Economic Survey of Garo Hills is under finalisation.

BORDER AREAS AND "SPECIALLY BACKWARD" AND "MOST BACKWARD" AREAS

31. The Government of Meghalaya have always been alive to the special needs and problems of the border areas and steps taken in this regard have already been intimated to the honourable members. A "specially backward" and "most backward" areas has been included in the Fifth Plan of the State.

LABOUR AND EMPLOYMENT

32. Under the  Directorate of Employment and Craftsmen Training, two new employment exchanges have been opened in the newly created Sub-divisional headquarters at Simsangiri and Nongstoin. An Employment Market Information Unit has also been set up at the District Employment Exchange, Jowai. Under Half  a Million Jobs Programme, 435 unemployed  educated youths have been absorbed  under training schemes and total number of beneficiaries under Self-Employment Schemes is 132.

CIVIL DEFENCE

33. The role of the Civil Defence Department  is important and needs no emphasis. So far more than 1,500 Civil  Defence  Volunteers  and Home Guards have been trained. Seven trainees were sent to the National Civil Defence College, Nagpur for training in various courses in Civil Defence.

EXCISE

34.  Illicit distillation and sale of illicit liquor are deep-rooted  evils which the Government  is determined to weed out. With this end in view, steps have been taken for utilising the services of the Heads of Elakas, in consultation with the Khasi Hills District Council. It is proposed to amend the Excise Act with a view to making the functioning of Excise Department more effective.

SOIL CONSERVATION AND JHUM CONTROL

35.   The principal objective of Soil conservation programme is to prevent  misuse of land resources, control erosion along with positive steps for enrichment of the soil for extending cultivation of suitable crops. Under the programme of land development for settled cultivation the department exceeded the target fixed for the Fourth Five year Plan by about 1,000 hectares. The  experimental projects undertaken by the Department in Garo Hills to replace jhumming by terracing has shown encouraging results and has been commented favourably by the Officers of the Planning Commission and the  Government of India. The State Government had proposed a programme for Jhum control and grouping of villages which  has  been scrutinised and discussed with the Planning Commission. The Planning commission has approved an outlay of Rs.4 crores during  the Fifth  Plan period to be met from the Soil Conservation  Sector of the State Plan. Over and above, an allocation of Rs.5.80 crores has been  tentatively earmarked for the  Border Areas and Rs.2.00  crores for "specially backward" and "most backward" areas. The Planning Commission have also advised that out of these programmes at least Rs.2.00 crores be specially allotted for the prevention of Jhum, cultivation, So that about 8,000 families can be covered during the Fifth Plan with the resources pooled together.

ADMINISTRATIVE RE-ORGANISATION

36.   In accordance with the programme of upgrading of administration  in the State Ri Bhoi Administrative Unit has been opened in Khasi Hills District on 18th April this year. Steps have also been initiated in regard to the programme for creation of more Districts and Sub-divisions in the State during the Fifth Plan period.

      An important step towards re-organisation of the Administrative structure has been taken by the constitution of Meghalaya Secretariat Service and the Meghalaya Secretariat Subordinate service. Service  Rules in respect of these two services have also been finalised. The Constitution of Meghalaya Civil  Service is under process. The work to finalise all the agreements  for the purpose of allocation  of employees taken on deputation from  the Government  of Assam is progressing satisfactorily. During the period from 1st April 1973 to 31st March 1974 a group of 169 tribal employees of the Government of Assam was taken over to Meghalaya in pursuance of Government's policy in this regard.

IMPROVEMENT IN THE CONDITION OF SERVICES OF THE EMPLOYEES

37.   The State Government have since decided  to accept the recommendations of the Assam Pay Commission in regard to the revision of pay scales and to give effect to them from the 1st January, 1973. Pending the giving full effect to the recommendations of the Commission, the State Government  have given in advance one month's pay and Rs.100 each to the employees drawing pay upto Rs.500 upto Rs.750 to Rs.1,000 per mensem which will be adjusted against the benefits to be sanctioned on the basis of Commission's recommendations. In view of the high cost of living  and also due to rise in the cost of POL, the rates of daily allowances and mileage allowances have been revised. For the present, House rent allowance is also being continued.

FUNCTIONING OF THE DISTRICT COUNCIL

 38. The  State Government attach utmost importance to the functioning of the District  Councils as effective instruments for associating the people in governmental efforts in developmental as well as other important sectors. Following the practice as laid  down in the Sixth Schedule, financial estimates for 1974-75 relating to the various Districts were circulated to the respective District Councils and their  comments have been received. In keeping  with the  Government  policy to give due weightage to the views of the District Councils, Government proposes after proper examination to initiate  action  on them as far as practicable within the existing financial constraints, if necessary  even by introducing supplementary demands during the next session of the Assembly. It is also proposed to transfer certain schemes in selected developmental sectors to the District Councils with their consent.

EMPLOYMENT SITUATION

39. Increasing trend of un-employment is noticeable from the number of employment seekers in the live registers of Employment Exchange offices, though they may not represent the situation fully. The volume of employment is also estimated to have declined due to the shifting of the Assam Government offices from Shillong. In addition to job opportunities created by the implementation of the Plan schemes in various sectors, the un-employment problem in the rural areas is proposed to be met by crash schemes and rural works programmes  designed specially for the purpose. Employment  opportunities  have also been created for educated un-employed under the National Programme  for Half-a-Million Jobs, which is  likely to continue with some modifications  during the current year also. With a view to assessing the requirements of technical and rained manpower in the State, the national institute of applied man-power research is conducting  a detailed survey and the State Government proposes to take necessary action in the light of their recommendations.

NATURAL CALAMITIES

40.  As is well known, Meghalaya is susceptible to various natural calamities. During 1973-74 there were heavy floods in parts of Khasi Hills bordering Bangladesh and in parts of Garo Hills. The total damage on this account is estimated at Rs.36.80 lakhs. There were also fire incidents in several  places in Garo Hills. The problem of low purchasing power and economic distress in the border areas continues to be acute. On account of the failure of jhum crops due to adverse weather conditions, reports have been received of scarcity  conditions in most parts of the District of Garo Hills, for which Rs.5 lakhs has been sanctioned as test relief and gratuitous relief.

41.   With the acceptance of the report of the Sixth Finance commission, there has been a change in the pattern and procedure for funding of relief expenditure. In accordance with the Commission's recommendations, the State Government are to meet minimum average expenditure on relief out of their non-plan budget and to take up schemes of developmental  nature relating to creation of capital assets such as roads, irrigation schemes, etc., through Plan finances. The earlier procedure of grant of financial assistance after the visits of Central teams on occurrences of natural calamities will no longer apply. During current years, our requirement for relief  by way of gratuitous grants and test relief schemes will be much higher than the amount of Rs.80,000 for which credit has been taken by the Sixth Finance commission. The provision proposed in this regard for the current years is Rs.26 lakhs.

BOUNDARY PROBLEMS

42.  The Revenue Department is being strengthened with a view  to talking up the question of demarcation of the boundary with Assam as well as to ensure greater attention to the problems of the border areas. In regard to the question of determination of the boundary with Assam, Meghalaya Government will continue to pursue the policy of settling the question by mutual consultation in  the interest of maintaining good relations with the neighboring  State and ensuring the welfare of the population living on both side of the border. The State Government, in this context, welcome the decision of the Government of India as reported in the Press to make an enquiry into the matter.

LAND REFORMS COMMISSION

43.   As the Hon'ble Members are aware, the Land Reforms Commission for Khasi Hills District constituted on 1st July 1973 has made considerable progress in its work. The Commission  has circulated its questionnaire extensively and has received replied from different individuals, Village durbars, political parties and others. It is expected that the Commission will be in a position to submit its report by the first of October this year.

BUDGET FOR 1974-75

44.    The estimates of receipts during 1974-75 budget amount to Rs.36.68 crores as against the revised estimates of Rs.26.44 crores for the year 1973-74 in the consolidated Fund. The corresponding figures of expenditure from the Consolidated Fund are Rs.36.68 crores and Rs.27.75 crores for 1974-75 and 1973-74 respectively. The increase in the total budget is due to several reasons. The  figures  included in the budget for 1974-75 project the estimated devolution and grants-in-aid from the Centre at a much higher level in view of the Sixth Finance Commission's Award.

        During the current year, the Central Plan assistance will remain at the level of last year and the State Government will go for larger open market borrowing of Rs.3.78 crores compared to last years figures of Rs.1.10 crores. This is being done with a view to having a bigger and viable Plan for the State.


        The salient features of the budget estimates of 1974-75 are as follows :-

RECEIPTS

Items

 Amount in lakhs of rupees

A Receipts in the Consolidated Fund
(i) Statutory grant under Finance Commission Award.

13,61.00

(ii) State's share of Central taxes and duties under the finance commission Award.

2,14.28

(iii) Central assistance outside the Finance commission Award for non-plan expenditure.

       Grants .............................................................. 21.87
        Loans...............................................................

1.00

(iv) Grants from Ministry of Transport for construction and maintenance of border roads, etc.

1,17.46

(v) Central assistance for Plan expenditure

      (a) Grants ..........................

7,96.50

      (b) Loans...........................

88.50

(vi) Central assistance for Centrally Sponsored Schemes.
       (a) Grants 1,98.17
       (b) Loans ...........
(vii) States receipts .................... 3,81.40
(viii) Market loan 3,78.00
(ix) Loan from Life Insurance Corporation of India 10.00
(x) Temporary Ways and Means Advances from  Reserve Bank of India 1,00.00
                                                                  Total - 36,68.18
B - Receipts under the Contingency Fund 75.00
C. Receipts  in the Public Account 35,68.84
.D. Opening cash balance................................ (-)1,65.00
                                          Total - Resources (A+B+C) 71,47.02

EXPENDITURE

(In lakhs of Rupees)

Item

Plan

Non-Plan

Total

A. Expenditure.
1. Gross revenue expenditure 865.15 18,96.89 27,62.04
Net revenue expenditure 865.15 18,96.89 27,62.04
2.. Gross capital expenditure 536.02 4,10.09 9,46.11
 Recoveries ..... 40.02 40.02
Net Capital expenditure 536.02 370.07 906.09
Total  - A   Gross         1,401.17 2,306.98 37,08.15
Net            1,401.17 22,66.96 36,68.13
B. Expenditure under the Contingency Fund .... ..... 75.00
C. Expenditure in the Public Account .... ..... 34,98,64
D. Closing cash Balance ..... ..... (-)94,75
Total - (A+B+C+D) ..... ..... 71,47.02

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

45.   The Budget estimates do not contain  any proposals for increase in either rate of taxes or levying of new taxes. As the Hon'ble  Members are aware, the State Government  have appointed a Taxation and Resources Enquiry Committee and no proposals in this regard have been incorporated in the budget pending the submission of the report by the Committee. The State Government are fully conscious of the necessary for raising additional resources and will try to play its part in the national efforts in this direction. The increases on the receipt side as shown in the budget  for 1974-75 as compared to the previous years are due to the normal rates of growth as well as the doing away of exemption of Excise duty in liquor so far granted to the Defence Forces. With a view to giving relief to the transport operators as well as users  of the transport services, the surcharge under the Meghalaya Passengers and Goods Taxation Act is being reduced and the House will have the occasion to discuss the Meghalaya Passengers and Goods Taxation (Amendment) Bill, 1974 in the session.

      The budget for 1974-75 shows an overall deficit of Rs.94.75 lakhs. I regret very much that I am compelled to present a deficit budget for the first year of the Fifth Five Year Plan. The deficit has arisen inter-alia due to certain basic requirements not having been  met by the Sixth Finance Commission as indicated in my speech earlier.

       Through the budget placed before the House for consideration today, I have tried to present a frame-work of action programme of the State in the context of the economic situation prevailing in the country and the State. I call upon the Hon'ble Members to extend your full co-operation in meeting the challenge of our times which we face to-day and contribute your best towards the building up of an economically strong and prosperous Meghalaya, marching hand-in-hand with the rest of the country

         With these introductory remarks, I place the budget for 1974-75 for the consideration and acceptance of the House.

JAI HIND