Government of Meghalaya
Budget Speech

1979 80

By

Shri Martin N. Majaw

Finance Minister, Meghalaya

16th March, 1979

 

MR. SPEAKER, SIR,

 I rise to present the Annual Financial  Statement for the year 1979-80

The National Economy

2. The Indian economy, during 1978-79, has by and large shown signs favourable to growth, although the rate of such growth may be lower than the 7.2 percent achieved during 1977-78. Floods and other natural calamities have adversely affected our economy

Nonetheless, agricultural production which declined in the previous year, registered a significant increase during 1977-78, with the output of foodgrains reaching a new height at 125.6 million tonnes. This was 14.4 million tonnes higher than in 1976-77, and 4.6 million tonnes better than the previous record in 1975-76. Several cash crops, like sugar-cane tea, coffee and cotton have also recorded substantial improvement in production. Foodgrains  stocks are in fact expected to increase to 20 million tonnes by the end of the current agricultural year (July, 1978 to June, 1979)

The price situation in the country was relatively stable during the year and the whole-sale price index had recorded an increase of only 1 percent during  the first 9 months of the current year. The Consumer Price Index, however, increased by 4.4 percent during the same period.

Meanwhile, industrial production seems to have shaken off its earlier stagnation by achieving a national growth rate of about 8 percent.

National Plan

3. The Government of India had decided to terminate the Fifth Five Year Plan at the end of 1977-78, instead of 1978-79, and a new medium term plan for five years from 1978-79 to 1982-83 was launched from April, 1978. The National  Development  Council has been discussing the finalisation of the medium term plan as also the strategies, objectives and procedures necessary for its success. A national consensus has been evolved on the approach to the problems of development of our country laying  greater emphasis on finding solutions to the backlog of poverty and unemployment, particularly in the rural areas. Efforts are being made to correct the unrealistic fixation of targets and imbalances in planning, and it is hoped that the new medium term plan will accelerate development at all levels.

Meghalaya Medium Term Plan

4. The Planning  Commission had originally approved  an outlay of Rs.165 crores as against Rs. 293.44 crores envisaged in the draft State Fifth Five-Year Plan submitted to the Planning Commission for 1978-79 to 1982-83. Subsequently, the outlay was raised to Rs.179.17 crores which, I am happy to inform the House has once again been raised by the Planning Commission to Rs.180 crores.

Seventh Finance Commission

5. The State Government did its best to impress upon the Seventh Finance Commission the special factors and problems obtaining in the State on account of its backwardness. The Government asked for liberal grants-in-aid in order to reduce the disparities between the financially stronger and weaker States.

     The report of the Seventh Finance Commission was placed before Parliament  after its acceptance by the Government of India. While making its recommendations, the Commission adopted certain yardsticks which are applicable to all the States in the country. The  total deficit represented by the State Government  to the Finance Commission was Rs.254.96 crores, made up of a revenue gap of Rs.245.89 crores and a capital gap of Rs.9.07 crores. As against this projected gap the Finance  Commission has recommended the following awards for five years :-

(i) (a) Share of Taxes and Duties

Rs.

36.68 Crores.

(b) Grants-in-aid under Article 275 Rs.

92.61 Crores.

                                                                      Total  Rs. 129.29 Crores.
(ii) Upgradation of the standard of Administration Rs. 4.68 Crores.
Total award on non-plan revenue account Rs. 134.15 Crores.
(iii) Debt Rs. 5.94 Crores.
Total revenue and capital account Rs. 140.09 Crores.

For  Meghalaya, the Commission has  provided a total amount of Rs.4.86 crores for upgradation of the standards  of administration, through the construction of administrative buildings at places other than the State capital construction of new jail buildings, construction of buildings for the police battalion and for police housing.

The  Commission has recommended a debt relief of Rs.5.94 crores by way of writing off 80 percent of central loans  other than the small savings loans and loans for the rehabilitation of displaced persons. It has also recommended that the net interest liability of the State Government during the period from 1979-80 to 1983-84, in respect of fresh borrowings  and lendings, should be  covered by grants-in-aid under Articles 275 during that period. In order to improve the emoluments of the  employees, including additional dearness allowances, the State Government had asked the Finance Commission for Rs.30.68 crores for five years; but the Commission has recommended only Rs.5.24 crores for this purpose.

The Finance Commission's Award does not fully covered our requirement and falls short of the expectations of the State Government. Though the State Government will make every effort to keep its non-plan commitments to the barest minimum, it will find it difficult to contribute larger resources for the annual plan. As the State's contribution in this respect  will be smaller than that expected by the Planning Commission, the State Government will expect and will make every  effort to secure, further central assistance for the plan during the next few years.

Agriculture and Irrigation

6. In the agricultural sector, the main objective of the Government is to achieve self-sufficiency in foodgrains. High priority is therefore given to the programme for increasing the area of high yielding varieties as also to encourage the adoption of improved methods of cultivation. It is, therefore, proposed to increase the coverage of high yielding varieties from 21,000 hectares in 1977-78 and 26,000 hectares during 1978-79 to 28,000 hectares in the coming year. The programme is based on realistic objectives, including  the supply of high yielding varieties  of seeds  at subsidised rates, large scale demonstration of improved techniques and training for farmers in the use of suitable machineries for achieving greater production. The target for foodgrains production  during 1979-80 is fixed at Rs.1,62 lakhs metric tonnes, as against Rs.1.55 lakh metric tonnes during 1978-79.

Considerable encouragement is also being given to the improvement of commercial and horticultural crops, such as jute, mesta, ginger, cotton and disease-resistant varieties of potatoes. As a result of the steps taken, in this regard, 90.545 metric tonnes of potatoes 70,000 bales  of jute and mesta and 3,345 bales of cotton were produced  during 1977-78. As against this, more than 1,00.000 metric tonnes of potatoes have already been produced during 1978-79, while 76,000 bales of jute and mesta and 4,000 bales of cotton are also expected to be produced  during this year. While the Project Report on the feasibility of tea plantations in Meghalaya is under consideration, demonstrations are also being taken up  for such plantations, which if proved successful, will greatly improve the economic condition of cultivators in Meghalaya.

     For all these schemes, an outlay of Rs.1,37.00 lakhs for agriculture and Rs.85 lakhs for minor irrigation has been made for 1979-80, as against the current year's  allotment of Rs.112 lakhs for agriculture and Rs.75 lakhs for minor irrigation. In addition, Rs.3 lakhs for the construction of agricultural warehouses in the  Co-operative sector and Rs.15 lakhs for construction work by the Public Works Department under minor irrigation, have also been allotted during 1979-80.

     Agricultural production in the State will depend to a large measure upon irrigation facilities. Vast areas in the State still lie barren or unutilised, primarily because of the lack of irrigation facilities. The difficult nature of the terrain in Meghalaya has not encouraged quick progress in this regard. Endeavours are, however, being  made to extend the coverage of irrigation as rapidly as possible. During 1979-80, an additional 6,000 hectares is proposed to be covered under the minor  irrigation programme; while, by the end of 1979-80, the total area under minor irrigation is expected to amount  to 27,000 hectares.

Soil Conservation

7. Our State contains areas receiving the maximum amount of rainfall in the world, while the average rainfall is generally quite high all over the  State. This causes severe erosion of the soil and the Soil Conservation  Department has taken several steps to encourage protection and careful use of the natural wealth with which  the State is endowed. Unfortunately, shifting cultivation, practised by a major portion of our population, further  exposes our soil to the hazards of erosion. The Soil Conservation Programme aims at the maximum and judicious utilisation of natural resources, including water so as to ensure a sustained and good production. The Jhum Control Programme provides for the rehabilitation of Jhumia families. In previous years, a Package Programme  offered to farmers practising shifting cultivation did not have the impact that was expected. During 1979-80, the scheme was slightly altered to give more emphasis to plantation crops which on reaching the profit earning stage will ultimately be handed over  to the cultivators for their cash income. For this purpose, a thousand families  are expected to be benefited under the Jhum Control Schemes, and during the Sixth Plan period, it is proposed to raise 5,300  hectares of plantation crops like coffee, black-pepper and rubber.

      The Department is also taking  up a scheme to help the villagers in broomstick growing areas where the leaves can be used as fodder  for  cattle and the brooms sold as a cash crop. During 1979-80, it is proposed to raise 700 hectares of broomstick cultivation under the Fodder &  Pasture Development Programme. A Training and Research Programme  has also been taken up by the Department at the Soil Conservation Training Institute, Byrnihat, for  trainees from the North Eastern States. The Department also proposes to continue giving incentives to the local people to raise their own forests so as to extend  afforestation in the State without direct departmental involvement. Provision  has been accordingly made for covering 700 hectares of barren areas with forests planted by the people.

Animal Husbandry

8. Meghalaya has immense potentialities for the development of Animal Husbandry because of favourable agro-climatic conditions. Under the Animal Husbandry programme development of livestock, together with cross breeding, has been intensified. During 1978-79, under the Intensive Cattle Development Programme  60 Stockmen centres have been established, while the construction of 6 more centres is being taken up. Veterinary dispensaries, both stationary and mobile, are rendering useful services to cattle farmers in the State. Approximately 60,000 cases have been treated and 1,40.000 animals vaccinated or given preventive treatment during 1978-79. The construction of 3 more veterinary dispensaries and 3  more veterinary dispensaries and 3 veterinary aid centres has also been taken up. Dairy Development has improved considerably, with the production and distribution of 4.66 lakh litres of milk and  479 kgs of ghee during the current year. Meanwhile the construction of the Central Dairy Chilling Plant at Shillong is progressing.

In the fields of Veterinary education and training, I am happy to inform the House that 7 students have passed the B.V.Sc. Course while a new batch of 17 trainees have joined the Veterinary Field Assistants course, while 18 students are currently studying in different Veterinary Colleges outside the State.  

The anticipated expenditure of Animal Husbandry up to the end of 1978-79 is expected to be Rs.78.38 lakhs out of the allotted sum of Rs.79.00 lakhs. The outlay for 1979-80 is Rs.107.75 lakhs, including the State's share of Central Sector Schemes.

Fisheries

9. At present Meghalaya, depends entirely upon out-side sources for its supply of fish. The minimum annual requirement of fish for  a population of 12 lakhs is about 6,000 tonnes, whereas the present annual production in the State is only 400 tonnes (1977-78). An ambitious outlay of Rs.196.00 lakhs is proposed for the development of fisheries in the State during the 6th Five-Year Plan, as  against an expenditure of Rs.51.00 lakhs during the 5th Plan. The major thrust of the programme will be towards  the development  of inland fisheries and reservoirs, assistance to pisciculturists and fishery co-operatives  for the construction of ponds and tanks. At the same time, it  is proposed to take over the Umiam, Kyrdemkulai and Umtru reservoirs for the development of fisheries. Schemes for the construction of flexible sausage dams will also be continued, while a small trout farm has been set up at Shillong to develop trout culture. All these schemes are expected  to provide additional income for the rural population.

Forests

10. Endowed  with  vast forest resources, the State has been able to undertake their commercial exploitation to meet the growing demands of forest based industries and for other constructional purposes. The State-owned reserved forests continue to be managed under  scientifically formulated Working Plans aimed at obtaining the optimum yield of timber and other forest produce. While commercial activity has been extended to the supply of track sleepers to the railways, rejuvenation programmes have been taken up for replenishing the forests and improving their yield potentials. During 1978-79, 472 hectares of tree plantations have been raised, and a further 630 hectares of new plantations are proposed to be taken up during the coming year.

Most of the forest areas of the State are however under the administrative control and management of the Autonomous District Councils. Large scale exploitation of these forest areas -either under private ownership or community control has been going on for several years, especially of pinewood from the Khasi and Jaintia Hills and sal wood from the Garo Hills areas.  To help  the District Councils control and manage their forests as also to accelerate replenishment, the State Government has been providing funds to the Councils by way of grants-in-aid. An amount of Rs.12,60 lakhs was earmarked for this purpose in the budget for 1978-79, and it is proposed to increase this amount to Rs.16.24  lakhs under  different plan and non-plan schemes during the coming financial year.

 It is expected that with this aid, the District Councils will extend tree plantations to 980 more hectares in 1979-80, compared to 380 hectares during 1978-79.

The Meghalaya  Forest Development Corporation raised Rs.6.50 lakhs during 1978-79  as share capital contribution from the State Government, bringing the total share contribution from the State up to the current year to Rs.20.50 lakhs. A provision of a further sum of Rs.7  lakhs has been made in the budget of 1979-80 as State  contribution to the Corporation Share Capital. The Corporation is taking up large scale plantations of teak, pine and citronella grass, apart from exploiting forest produce, tapping pine trees for resin and distilling oil from citronella and lemon grasses. The Corporation proposes to set up a Saw Mill of its own during 1979-80.

Co-operation

11. The Co-operative sector has a key role to play in the economic development of the State. If properly organised and controlled, the Co-operative Societies can help in bringing the nascent leadership of the State at all  levels into active participation with the Government for the general development of Meghalaya and the ultimate fulfillment of its plans and programme. After the reorganisation of 176 Cooperative Societies  and the appointment of full-time and trained Secretaries, the stage is now set for the rapid growth of the co-operative movement on a permanent, economic, footing, free from the  control or influence  of vested interests. These Societies will also take up the distribution of essential commodities  and agricultural inputs within their area. Ultimately, it is proposed to merge these Service Co-operative Societies into multi-purposes Societies with wider powers and functions.

Meanwhile, rules are being framed under the Meghalaya Miscellaneous and Credit Provisions Act in order to facilitate the issue of terminal loans to agriculturists for land development and improvement work. The Meghalaya Co-operative Apex Bank Ltd. has also started a Land Development Section to expedite the granting of term loans to agriculturists.

The Meghalaya State Co-operative Marketing and Consumers' Federation, established in 1975, is making  rapid strides as shown by the increase in its  volume of business from Rs.14.48 lakhs in 1975-76 to Rs.119.10 lakhs during 1977-78. The Federation  proposes to take up a  scheme for the establishment of five Agro Custom Hiring  Centres in the Garo Hills. The scheme also envisages the setting up of a Jute Bailing Centre in the same District.

Community Development

12. At the grass-roots level, the success or failure of a State Plan depends to a large extent upon the proper functioning of the Block Development Agencies. In the State of Meghalaya, the Development Blocks cover all the 4,600 villages in the State. It is however, a fact that the areas covered by some Blocks particularly the Bhoi Area, Nongstoin,  Mawryngkneng, Thadlaskein. Songsak and Dambuk Aga Blocks are  too far-flung and hence  unable to expend the benefits of development to the farmers in remote areas of the State. The Government has therefore requested the Planning Commission to sanction six additional Development blocks in the State in order to bring the fruits of development closer to the people.  Efforts are also being made to augment the  resources of the Block Development Agencies through direct grants-in-aid as also through the channelisation of various development programmes. For the first time in Meghalaya,  the State Government made during 1978-79 provision for the public election of Members of the block Development committee throughout  the State. This was done by sending electors from every village in the State to each of the ten Gram Sevak Centres under the 24  Development blocks for election of one member each to the Block Development committee. These elections were, by and large, very effective in projecting the democratic aspirations of the rural population of the State.

Power

13. The State of Meghalaya has vast potentialities for the production and distribution of hydro electric power. As a matter of fact, the State is not even in position to consume all the electrical energy generated  from the Umtru & Umiam rivers within Meghalaya. A sizeable amount of Meghalaya's hydro electric production is supplied to the Assam State Electricity Board, which in turn resells the same to some of the North Eastern States. I am happy to inform the House that as a result of steps taken by the Government of Meghalaya to secure prompt payment of outstanding dues for the supply of electrical payment of  outstanding dues  for the supply of electrical energy to Assam, the Assam State Electricity Board has paid upto November, 1978 Rs.792.03 lakhs out of Rs.1,010.05 lakhs owned to the Meghalaya State Electricity Board, leaving an outstanding balance of Rs.218.02 lakhs for the supply of electricity to the State  of Assam from 1975 to March 1979. In the meantime, the Chairman of the Meghalaya  State Electricity Board has requested his counterpart in the Assam State Electricity Board to immediately clear at least 50 percent of the dues still outstanding to our State.

The House will be pleased to learn that the first unit of the Kyrdemkulai Project was successfully commissioned in January, 1979 , while the second unit is scheduled to be commissioned during this month. A provision of Rs.210 lakhs has been  approved by the Planning Commission for the year 1979-80 in order  to execute and complete the Umiam -Umtru Stage IV Project together  with the Upper Khri Diversion Hydro Electric Project. At the same time, investigation of the proposed Myntdu Hydro Electric Project in the Jaintia Hills District and the Kynshi Hydro Electric Project in the West Khasi Hills District is in progress. Under the Rural  Electrification Programme, 174 villages are expected to be  electrified at the end of the year.

Mineral Development

14. During the year 1978-79, a sum of Rs.20 lakhs was sanctioned for the State Directorate of Mineral Resources. The  Planning  Commission has however, approved a lower outlay of only Rs.18 lakhs  for 1979-80. The programme for geological investigations of various minerals will however, be continued  by the State  Government through its various  field parties. Currently, investigations of coal, limestone, china-clay and quartz  are in progress. The construction of administrative buildings has been taken up and the major portion of the work should be completed in 1979-80.

During the current financial year, the extraction of minerals is as follows :-

(a) Coal-34,047 metric tonnes (excluding Jaintia Hills District for which figures are not yet available).

(b) Limestone - 1,55,805 metric tonnes.

(c) Sillimanite - 6,821.747 metric tonnes.

(d) China-Clay - 9,040.50 metric tonnes.

Industries

15. the Department of Industries is primarily concerned with the promotion and development of large, medium and small scale industries. The Mawmluh Cherra Cements Ltd. is the only large scale industry in the State. It has completed its first phase expansion programme during 1978-79m and  the second phase is expected to be completed by December, 1979. To facilitate development programmes for large and medium industries promotional work has been entrusted to the Meghalaya  Industrial Development Corporation. (M.I.D.C.). In the small scale sector, loans and grants-in-aid were given, as in previous years, to deserving entrepreneurs and artisans. In the meantime, the M.I.D.C.  has taken up the development of an industrial estate in the Umiam  area (Barapani). 200 acres of land have been  obtained and steps are being taken to train artisans and provide raw-materials for the proposed industries. At the industrial estate in Shillong a 30 - tonne per day Roller Flour Mill is being set up by a local entrepreneur, and the M.I.D.C.  is giving him a loan of Rs.11.25 lakhs. Altogether 12 local entrepreneurs  have availed of loans from the M.I.D.C.

One of the principal handicaps in the industrialisation of the State is the lack of trained personnel and skilled labour who could take  advantage of the employment opportunities  generated by the establishment of large and medium industries. In addition to the training centres at Shillong, Mawsynram, Dalu and Tura, the  Department proposes to set up two more training centres at Nongstoin and Simsangiri as also to improve the existing centres. Hostel accommodation will also be provided as trainees are not attracted to these institutes because of a  lack of such facilities. A provision of Rs.6.00 lakhs is being earmarked for these training centres.

Sericulture & Weaving 

16. Sericulture & Weaving are two important cottage industries in the State, providing at least part-time  employment to nearly 15,000 people, mostly in the rural areas. During the Fifth Plan period (including 1978-79), 15 Eri Concentration Centres and 15 Collective Mulberry Gardens have been organised in addition to the existing 12 centres and 26 gardens. One Mulberry  Silk Farm at Dilma and one Eri Silk  Farm at Bonegiri in the Garo Hills are being set up during the current year. It is also proposed to expand, during this year, the Eri Seed Grainage at Nongpoh and establish a Cocoon Preservation Centre for oak-tasar. Training facilities are being provided to weavers at Shillong, Jowai, Tura, Resubelpara and Baghmara. Ten Weavers' Extension Service Units and 20 Weaving Demonstration Centres are now functioning g in the State.

Education

17. The Fifth Plan outlay for General Education has been fixed at Rs.458.00 lakhs, whereas the expenditure for the years 1974-78 was Rs.355.82 lakhs. The plan outlay for the year 1978-79 is Rs.178.55 lakhs, which will be spent in full.

For the year 1979-80, the major thrust will be towards universalisation of elementary education and adult education. In the primary stage 40 primary  schools are proposed to be established in large villages with an enrolment of 70,000 students. In scarcely populated rural areas, however part-time education will be imparted to about 5,000 children in 400 centres. In the Middle Secondary Stage, the State 'Government proposes to enroll 4,500 students for formal education and  2,500 for non-formal education. Besides, 200 non-formal education  centres will be opened to give coaching to students appearing for the Middle School Leaving Certificate Examination. Endeavours would also be made to provide  better nation. Endeavours would also be made to provide better facilities in the existing Secondary School institutions  Part-time schools will also be started to enroll drop-outs  and give them coaching for the High School Leaving Certificate Examination.

During 1978-79, the Adult Education Programme for the eradication of illiteracy was launched under the National Adult Education Programme. It is proposed to open 650 Adult Literacy Centres to cover 19,500  persons of the age group of 15-35  years during 1979-80. Schemes for the development of Sports and Youth Welfare were also taken up during the current year.

Social Welfare

18. The Department of Social Welfare is entrusted with the task of organising services for the upliftment of the poor, the down-trodden, the weak, the destitute and the handicapped. The Government's policy in this regard is to involve voluntary organisations in the implementation of Social Welfare Programmes, for which purpose financial assistance is given in the form of grants. The Directorate of Social Welfare came into being only from the 9th of July, 1974, having been only a Wing of the Directorate of Public Instruction before that. Some of  the schemes taken up are the distribution of grants to voluntary organisations, the award of scholarships to institutions both inside and outside the State, the sanction of prosthetic aids to physically handicapped persons  permanently residing in the State of Meghalaya  for the purchase  of artificial limbs and appliances, the deputation of officers for Post-Graduate  studies in social  work and the implementation of the Special Nutrition Programme (DNP) in the urban areas of Shillong. The Directorate has also established State  homes for  destitute women and Training-Cum-Production  Centres at Shillong, Tura and Jowai.

Labour

19. The problem of the educated unemployed continues to grow despite the best efforts of the Government. It has often been noticed that hundreds of qualified applicants seek appointment where only one or two vacancies  are available under Government service. The Government cannot conceivably give employment to all such persons. Instead, steps are being taken to give vocational guidance to the educated as also to open more Vocational Training Institutes in the State. Reliable data of unemployment or under-employment is not available, but the number of work seekers registered with the Employment Exchanges may be an indicator of unemployment in the State. In January, 12979, 10,425 persons were registered at the Employment  Exchanges in the State, out of whom 8,649 were educated.

The Directorate of Employment & Craftsmen Training was established in 1973 to implement the Employment Market  Information Programme, the Vocational Guidance Programme, the Craftsmen Training Programme  and the Apprenticeship Training Programme. Under the Employment  Market  Information Programme. 571 employers (449 and 122 in the public and private sectors respectively)  having an employee population of 41,740, were brought within the purview of the Programme. The Vocational Guidance Programme aims  at providing guidance to unemployed youth, particularly in the choice of  a right  career. During the period from November, 1977 to October, 1978, 1,415 persons were  provided with guidance. The other  two programmes aim at building up a semiskilled  work force as also skilled apprentices up meet the requirements of skilled workers in the industries.

The Directorate of Labour is directly concerned with the administration and enforcement of various labour laws  and acts in the interest of labour welfare in the State. Three District Labour Offices have been set up with headquarters at Shillong, Tura and Jowai. A Statistical Cell has also been set up in the Directorate during the year to deal with all statistical matters required under various labour acts and rules.

The Meghalaya Civil Task Force was established in August, 1974 but it started functioning  actively from June, 1976. It aims at giving employment to the unemployed able-bodied  workers of the State. The Force has a sanctioned strength of 7 platoons, each consisting of one subordinate officer, one Havildar, 5 Naiks and 65 Pioneers. Only 4 platoons have been raised so far according to the availability of work. The  main function of the Force is to undertake all types of development work, mainly of an unskilled  nature, like road construction, jungle clearance terrace cutting, etc. At present, 3 platoons have been deployed in the Khasi & Jaintia Hills and 1 platoon in the Garo Hills. 

District Council Affairs

20. As the House is well aware, the Autonomous District Councils, constituted under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution of India to safeguard the interests of the tribal people, largely depend upon Government grants for their development schemes in the rural areas. During 1978-79, a total plan outlay of Rs.30 lakhs was provided in the State Budget, of which an amount of Rs.25 lakhs was earmarked for the District Councils' own plan schemes and Rs.5 lakhs for the construction of the District Councils buildings. For 1979-80, an amount  of Rs.17 lakhs has been proposed in the State budget for development and construction  schemes of the District Councils.

In accordance with the provisions of paragraph 13  of the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution, the draft district budgets  are placed before the District Councils in session, before they are placed before the State Assembly together with the comments and observations of the District Councils. The State  Government shall endeavour during the coming financial year to incorporate those proposals made by the District Councils in the Annual Budget, if they can be taken up by the departments concerned.

Health

21. The State Government lays great importance upon the provision of adequate health facilities to the people of the State, particularly in the rural areas.

Community Health Workers Scheme will be continued in 8 Primary Health Centres while the approval of the Government of India has been sought for extending the scheme to 6 more Primary Health Centres so as to cover the entire State. The scheme for the training of traditional birth attendants will also be continued. It is proposed to train 100 more such attendants during 1979-80 in order to ensure safe and hygienic deliveries to rural mothers. Meanwhile, doctors at Primary Health Centres will be  given in-service training with  UNICEF assistance. To train all medical  officers, Block Extension Health Educators, Health Assistants, Health Workers (both male and female), the Multi-Purpose  Health Working Scheme will be continued at Health and Family Welfare Training Centres, as also at the Primary Health Centres, wherever feasible.

While the expansion and improvement of the Pasteur Institute is in progress under an NEC  scheme, extension work on the Ganesh Das Hospital is expected to be commissioned during 1979-80. To overcome the dearth of medical and para-medical personnel, scholarships for the MBBS and  Pharmacists Course  were awarded during 1978-79 as in previous years.

Waster Supply

22. Under the rural Water Supply Programme, steps are being taken to provide potable water to villages where drinking water is scarce. Up to 31st March,1978, 82 Water Supply schemes  were completed  benefiting a population of 1,30,000. By the end of this year, another 42 schemes are expected to be completed. In addition, a Centrally Sponsored Accelerated Water Supply Scheme has been taken up to supplement the Rural Water Supply Programme. Under this Scheme an amount of Rs.100.00 lakhs was  provided  during 1978-79.

In the urban sector, the proposed Greater Shillong Water Supply Scheme, at an estimated cost of Rs.23.90 crores, has received the clearance  of the  Government of India. Preliminary steps such as survey works, investigation of dams, etc. have already been taken up. The work on the Jowai Water Supply Scheme is in progress and it is expected to be completed during 1979-80. This project will benefit 50,000 people.

Roads & Bridges

23. Road communications play a vital role in the economic development  of our  State, especially as other means of communication are not available. During 1978-79, 150 Kilometres of new roads were taken up, besides the construction of bridges and the improvement of existing roads. For the coming year, the Planning  Commission has recommended an outlay of Rs.550.00 lakhs. The State Government proposes to take up construction of 148 kms new roads, construction and improvement of bridges  covering 423 kms. and black-topping of 106 kms of existing  roads. Under the NEC Programme, the improvement of 7 existing roads during 1979-80 (as against 5 such roads during 1978-79) will be taken up.

Transport 

24. The Meghalaya  Transport Corporation is still continuing its efforts to increase its fleet position and take up new routes. the Corporation has a plan for the construction of a Central Workshop at Shillong. With the increase in road traffic, there have been a number of road accidents, often caused by the over loading of vehicles. The effectively control and check overloading, Government propose to set up weigh-bridges along important roads.

Border Areas

25. As the Hon'ble Members are aware, we have a separate programme, comprising all aspects of development, for improving the economic conditions of our people in the border areas. Although a total outlay of Rs.378.00 lakhs was approved of during the Fifth Five Year Plan, it is admitted that only a few of the basic problems in the area could be touched. The programme will however continue during the next year and every effort will be made to implement schemes allocated for the benefit and development of the people in the border areas.

Tourism

26. Schemes for the promotion of tourism in the State were continued during 1978-79. While the tourist Bungalow at Thadlaskein has been completed, the Tourist Bungalow at Tura is proposed to be taken up during 1979-80. It is also proposed to taken up the construction of motels at Jorabat and Nongpoh, as also the development of the Umiam area (Barapani) during the coming year.

Municipal Administration

27. The Municipal Administration Department looks after the Shillong Municipality, the Tura Town Committee and  the Baghmara Town Committee. In order to assist these local bodies, the State Government have been rendering financial assistance to them every year in the from of grants-in-aid. During 1977-78, a sum of Rs.1.03 lakhs was sanctioned to the Shillong Municipality, Rs.30,000 to the Tura Town Committee and Rs.20,000 to the Baghmara Town Committee. These civic bodies have functioned satisfactorily during the year and have taken un a number of civic improvements despite the lack of adequate funds. Measures are also being taken to increase the revenue receipts of these local bodies so as to make them less dependent upon Government aid. In the meantime, the Government is taking steps to constitute a Municipality for Tura Town.

Revenue Affairs

28. The Revenue Department of the Government of Meghalaya deals with matters appertaining to land, including survey, borders and boundaries of the State and relief for victims of natural calamities. One of the major problems in the State is the absence of land records. To rectify this, extensive cadastral survey has to be taken up through out the state in the shortest possible time, for which adequate funds have already been allotted. The Government is also considering the desirability of introducing suitable legislation for cadastral survey. In the meantime, the construction of a Survey  School building with staff quarters at Tura is progressing.

On the 20th of January, 1979, Revenue Ministers of Assam and Meghalaya meet in Shillong and decided to set up a joint Committee of both the States at the Secretaries, level, together with senior officers of the Home Department. It was also  decided to take up joint demarcation of the Jinjiram River along the Garo Hills-Goalpara  boundary between Assam and Meghalaya. I am happy to inform the House that work in this regard has already  begun. Despite some set-backs, particularly in the Hakumari-Langpih and Khanduli areas, the Government of  Meghalaya is making every effort to maintain cordial relations with the neighboring States, particularly Assam, consistent with its overall policy of laying claim to all those areas  which were originally controlled or occupied by the hill people of Meghalaya. It is unfortunate however, that as a result of unilateral steps taken by the Government of Assam thousands of Meghalayan  tribals had  to flee as refugees from the homes within this State. In this connection, I must place on record the deep appreciation of the Government  of Meghalaya for the selfless, dedicated and generous efforts made to render aid to these hapless people by the public, voluntary organisations, employees of the State and youth associations, especially the Meghalaya  Tribal Youth Organisation, the Tribal United Front, the Khasi-Jaintia Welfare Association and the Hima Nongkhlaw Students' Welfare Association. The Government reiterate their  determination to take all necessary steps towards expeditious settlement of the issues relating to the boundary with the State of Assam.

Home Affairs

29. The law and order situation in the State has been satisfactory. The Government are convinced that peaceful conditions are pre-requisites for ensuring the co-coordinated development of the State for which all measures will be taken to preserve  amity and goodwill among all sections of the people.

Although  both the State Government and the Central Government have provided funds for the construction of residential quarters for police personnel, work on this  project  could not progress satisfactorily as the State Public Works Department was busy with the construction and maintenance of important roads and national highways, Government have so far been able to provide  residential accommodation to only 21 percent of  the upper subordinate staff and 26 percent to the lower subordinate staff. The Government is, however, very alive to this problem which causes  serious inconvenience  to the police personnel, whose duties are extremely arduous.

For this and other construction works under the  State Government, it is now proposed to set up a Government, Construction Corporation which will start functioning from this month itself.

For the modernising  of the State Police Force, the Government of India have sanctioned Rs.21.28 lakhs upto 1978-79. With these funds, W/T equipment, scientific aids and vehicles are being purchased. The Meghalaya Police have only one Armed Police Battalion consisting of 7 Service Companies, of which 6 Companies are deployed throughout the State. This has been found to be too insufficient to meet any law and order situation. Besides, we have a long international border with Bangladesh, and although both the B.S.F. and the newly created Border Wing Home Guards Battalion are entrusted with the task of guarding our borders, a number of sensitive areas are still  left unguarded. Consequently, the influx of foreign nationals into our State and the incidence of crimes along the border continue to pose serious problems for our State, not to speak of the tremendous socio-political impact upon small tribal communities like ours. As the Seventh Finance Commission did not accept our proposal of Rs.50 lakhs for raising the 2nd Armed Police Battalion, the State Government has had to requisition the services of the Border Wing Home-Guards Personnel. There are at present two companies of the border Wing Home Guards under the operational control of the B.S.F. in the Garo Hills border and 3 Platoons deployed in the Khasi Hills and Jaintia Hills Districts. It is a matter of satisfaction that the B.S.F. have time and again expressed their satisfaction over the excellent services rendered by the home-guards personnel.

Personnel

30. Under the provisions of Section 64(1) of the North Eastern Areas (Re-organisation) Act, 1971, the allocation of officers and staff between the Governments of Assam  and Meghalaya has to be covered by an agreement between  the two States. I am happy to inform the House that in most cases agreements have been executed; there has been great improvement in this regard as compared to the previous year. It is hoped that in a short-while, the separation of officers and staff between the two States will be complete.

The Government of Meghalaya has the highest regard for its employees who form the back-bone of the administration. A number  of Service Associations have now been recognised by the State Government, while the cases of other Associations are under consideration. A three months' training course for batches of 30 Lower Division Assistants, under the Heads of Departments, was initiated on 17th July, 1978. At the same time, 25 officers have been sent for training within the country during the current financial year and several other officers were recommended to the Government of India for training abroad. The State Government has also given a stipend of Rs.75 per month per trainee attending the All-India Services, Pre-Examination Training Centres, North-Eastern Hill University, Shillong. So far, four trainees are receiving stipends.

Due to financial constraints, the State Government had not been able to release the full amount of arrears of dearness allowance due to its employees from 1st July 1974 to 31st October 1977. Only 50 percent of such arrears were paid in cash, while the remainder was deposited in Provident Fund Accounts. After careful consideration of all aspects of the matter, the Government decided to release the remaining 50 percent of arrears to all State Government employees, including college, High School and Primary School Teachers.

The Meghalaya Pay Commission

31. With a view to rationalising the existing pay scales in the State and giving Government servants some relief  from the rigours of a high-price level, the State Government  set up the  Meghalaya Pay Commission with  effect  from  the 1st  August, 1978, with Shri N.K. Rustomji I.C.S. (Retd) as it s Chairman, and (1) Prof. S. Sarangapani  of Guwahati University, (2) Shri D.S. Khongdup. I.A.S.  (3) Shri A.G. Momin, Lecturer, Tura Government College as Members, and (4) Shri N.N. Mookerjee, I.A.S. Secretary to the Government of Meghalaya, Finance Department, as the Member Secretary. Shri N.K. Rustomji was, however, not able to take up the assignment and in his place, Dr. R.S. Lyngdoh was appointed in September, 1978.

The Commission's questionnaire was released on the 16th September, 1978, and altogether as many as 87  replies and 57 Memoranda or Representations were received from different Service Associations, interested individuals or group  of individuals and Government Departments or Offices. All these have been processed and examined and the Commission has also taken the evidence of 25 Service Associations, 47 individuals or group of individual and 13 Heads of Department or offices so far.

The Commission hopes to submit its report to the Government within a month or two. In the meantime, I am happy to inform the House that the  Government  of Meghalaya has decided to grant interim relief to all its employees, with effect from 1st April, 1979. The exact quantum of such relief category-wise is however being worked out.

Before presenting the picture of Budget estimates for the next year, I would like to give a brief account of the actuals for 1977-78 and the revised estimates for 1978-79.

Actuals, 1977-78

32. The year 1977-78 opened with a negative cash balance of Rs.210.62 lakhs. There was a total receipt of Rs.28,133.49 lakhs and the total expenditure of Rs.28,547.88 lakhs in that year under all accounts, resulting in a deficit of Rs.414.39 lakhs. Thus, the negative cash balance increased from Rs.210.62 lakhs at the beginning of the year to Rs.625.01 lakhs at the close of the year. There was, however, an amount of Rs.781.75 lakhs invested by the State Government in Government of India Treasury Bills at the close of the year. In other words, the year 1977-78, virtually closed with a surplus of Rs.156.74 lakhs.

Revised Estimates for 1978-79

33. The revised estimates of receipts and expenditure on all accounts for the current year are Rs.29,578.22 lakhs and Rs.28,862.29 lakhs respectively.

Taking into consideration, however, the opening negative cash balance of Rs.625.01 lakhs, the estimated cash balance at the end of 1978-79 is likely to be Rs.90.92 lakhs.

Budget Estimates, 1979-80

34. I would now like to give a broad picture of estimates for 1979-80. The receipts on revenue account are estimated at Rs.5,872.52 lakhs and the estimated expenditure from  revenue at Rs.4,754.21 lakhs. There will thus, be a surplus of Rs.1,118.31 lakhs on revenue account. The estimated receipts outside revenue account amount to Rs.24,450.33  lakhs and the estimated expenditure outside the revenue account is Rs.25,837.43 lakhs, leaving a deficit of Rs.1,387.10 lakhs. Together with the revenue surplus, there will be an overall deficit of Rs.268.79 lakhs. This is expected to be partially wiped out by the opening cash balance of Rs.90.92 lakhs, leaving a deficit of Rs.177.87 lakhs.

Mobilisation of Resources

35. During discussions on the State Plan for Meghalaya, the Planning Commission insisted that we should be able to mobilise additional resources, at least to the tune of Rs.5 crores. While attempting to achieve this we have also to make  an attempt to reduce the estimated deficit of Rs.177.87 lakhs.

It cannot be denied that the State of Meghalaya has come a long way from the early days of its birth. The actual receipts for 1972-73 show tax returns of Rs.209.76 lakhs, of which Rs.122.84 lakhs lakhs were collected from the State; and non-tax revenue of Rs.93.06 lakhs; grants-in-aid at the time were Rs.1,446.18 lakhs. Instead, actual receipts for 1977-78 show receipts under Tax Revenue as Rs.405.92  lakhs, of which Rs.282.17 lakhs were collected from the State; and non-tax revenue Rs.221.94 lakhs; grants-in-aid also rose to Rs.4,182.81 lakhs. During 1979-80, the tax revenue of the State is expected to rise to Rs.473.13 lakhs, including  Rs.328.13 lakhs collected from Meghalaya. The non-tax revenue is expected to amount to Rs.225.28 lakhs; grants-in-aid have also risen to Rs.5,174.10 lakhs.

In  its desire to mobilise more resources for the State, the State Government appointed  on the 4th of December, 1972, the Meghalaya Taxation and Resources Inquiry Committee headed by the then Finance Minister, Mr. B.B. Lyngdoh, with a few M.L.A.s and a number of financial and economic experts as  Members. The Committee examined at length for three  years the possibility of raising more financial resources from the State. In its report submitted in 1975, the Committee proposed 165 fiscal and taxation measures for the consideration of the  Government. These in turn were processed by a High-Powered Committee set up on the 19th of September 1976. This Committee proposed the acceptance of 119 fiscal measures while recommending further consideration of 32  other measures. It found 14 proposals unacceptable or unnecessary. The Government of Meghalaya  will soon be taking steps to implement as many of these proposals as are found conductive to the State and its people.

I propose to mobilise further resources by introducing  the following bills:-

1. The Meghalaya finance Bill, 1979.

2.  The Meghalaya Purchase Tax (Amendment) Bill, 1979.

Under  this measure, I propose to levy a purchase tax of 2 paise per rupee on potatoes and cotton, and 5 paise per rupee on broomsticks, timber, bamboo, paper (Pipul) resin wood or torch wood (dhup lakri), cinnamon bark (dalchini), rauwolfia roots, taraktogenas kurtizii (chalmugra)  and sesame seeds (tillo seeds); on bay-leaf (tezpatta), however, I propose to levy a purchase tax or 10 paise per rupee, and 25 paise per rupee on agar wood and orchids. Large quantities of these goods  are almost daily carried out of the State by very well-to-do traders and exporters. I have therefore, proposed this new levy on export so as to tap this additional source of revenue without in anyway affecting the prices of goods consumed within the State.

3. The Meghalaya Finance (Sales Tax) (Amendment) Bill 1979.

In this Bill, I intend to propose marginal rises in the levy of Sales Tax upon cement (from 6 paise to 7 paise) on electrical goods (from 7 paise to 10 paise), on Indian made and imported foreign liquor, except  beer, (from 25 percent to 40 percent), on country spirit (from 14 paise to 15 paise), on mosaic tiles, fountain pens, umbrellas and hollow-blocks (from 6 paise to 7 paise) and on gur and molasses (at 7 paise in a rupee).

The Government of Meghalaya is committed to a policy of temperance which aims at weaning away addicts from the evils of excessive drinking. With this end in view, I propose raising the Sales Tax on Indian-made  and imported foreign liquor, except beer, from 25 percent to 40 percent. Gur and molasses are however, being used in increasing quantities by illicit distillers of liquor. I, therefore, propose to levy Sales Tax of 7 percent on this commodity.

4. The Meghalaya Sales Tax (Amendment) bill, 1979.

Under this Bill, I propose to raise the rate of Sales Tax on ready-made garments of synthetic fibers from 1 paisa to 6 paise per rupee.

These measures will enable us to reduce the uncovered gap of Rs.177.87 lakhs by Rs.55 lakhs. During the course of the year, appropriate actions will, however, be taken to wipe out the uncovered  gap completely, through economic and fiscal measures, including the setting up of check-gates along important trade routes and sterner measures  of prevent tax evasion.

Before I conclude, I must express my thanks to the Finance Secretary, other officers and the staff of the Finance .Departments, for their untiring efforts in the preparation of this Budget presented today. I also offer my thanks to the Superintendent. Superintendent in-charge, Assistant Superintendents and the staff of the Government Press for their meticulous pains in the printing of this Budget.

I may be permitted to state in conclusion, that many of the economic problems of Meghalaya are a legacy of the past. It is, however, incumbent upon the present Government to work sincerely, fearlessly and with dedication towards eradication of the problems besetting the State, keeping before itself the inalienable vision of a land not only free of poverty, ignorance and ill-health but also endowed with men inspired with goodness, leadership, and the fear of God without whom, none of our plans will succeed.

With these words, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I have the pleasure to present the Budget Estimates for 1979-80 for the consideration of the House.

KHUBLEI, MITHELLA, JAI HIND.


ANNEXURE

THE FINANCIAL POSITION FOR THE YEAR 1979-80 WITH CORRESPONDING POSITION IN THE PREVIOUS YEARS.

Rupees in Lakhs
Heads Actuals Actuals Budget Revised Budgets
1976-77 1977-78 1978-79 1978-79 1979-80
1 2 3 4 5 6
Opening Balance (-)376.21 (-)210.62 (-)84.13 (-)6,25.01 90.92
Revenue Receipt 38,53.12 48,10.68 53,42.07 54,30.52 58,72.52
Capital Receipt under the Consolidated Fund 4,65.79 2,58.46 5,78.77 4,12.41 9,43.99
Capital Receipt under the Contingency Fund ........ 6,50.00 75.00 1,53.46 1,00.00
Capital Receipt under the Public Account 174,25.07 224,14.35 194,11.82 235,81.83 234,06.34
TOTAL RECEIPT 217.43.98 281,33.49 254,07.66 295,78.22 303,22.85
GRAND TOTAL 213,67.77 279,22.87 253,23.53 289,53.21 304,13.77
Revenue Expenditure 30,10.86 37,92.29 42,42.93 42,47.29 47,54.21
Capital Expenditure under Consolidated Fund.    10,83.77 12,58.04 17,16.71 16,26.46 23,74.09
Capital Expenditure under the Contingency Fund ....... 6,93.18 75.00 78.46 1,00.00
Capital Expenditure under Public Account 174,83.76 228,04.37 193,71.82 229,10.08 233,63.34
TOTAL EXPENDITURE 215,78.39 285,47.88 254,06.46 288,62.29 305,91.64
Closing Balance (-) 2,10.62 (-) 6,25.01 (-) 82.93 90.92 (-) 1,77.87
GRAND TOTAL 213,67.77 279,22.87 253,23.53 289,53.21 304,13.77
NET RESULT :-
(a) On Revenue Account (+)8,42.26 (+)10,18.39 (+)10,99.14 (+)11,83.23 (+)11,18.31
(b) Outside Revenue Account (-)6,76.67 (-)14,32.78 (-)10,97.94 (-)4,67.30 (-)13,87.10
(c) All Accounts  excluding the opening  Balance and closing Balance. (+)1,65.59 (-)4,14.39 (+)1,20 (+)7,15.93 (-)2,68.79