Government of Meghalaya

Budget Speech 1972 73
By

Shri Brington Buhai Lyngdoh 

Finance Minister, Meghalaya

19th June, 1972

Mr. Speaker Sir,

       The Year 1972 is the most notable year for the people of Meghalaya and for the people of the North Eastern Region as a whole. On the 21st January of this year, our great Prime Minister inaugurated the full fledged State of Meghalaya. This day, the 21st  January, 1972 will ever remain the most memorable date for the people of our State, for it marks the complete fulfillment of the aspirations of the people for a rightful place in the life of the nation. In this connection, I would like to acknowledge with gratefulness the deep understanding shown by our Prime Minister and the other national leaders of the problems and aspirations of the people  in this part of the country, I would also like to put on record our appreciation of the abundant good-will that came to us from the people of the country as a whole and of Assam in particular. I am sure this august House will join me in extending our best wishes and continued good-will to the people of Assam and the North-East with a pledge to march hand-in-hand in ensuring a balanced and accelerated development of the region as a whole. The emergence of Meghalaya as a full fledged State has thrown a challenge and has put upon us the gigantic responsibilities to initiate and implement the programmes for al round  development of this under-developed part of the country. Our objectives is not only to bring the level of development of the State at par with other advanced 'States of the great Republic to which we are privileged to belong, but also to keep up with the tempo of development in the rest of the country. I would solicit the  co-operation of all the members and the people of Meghalaya towards putting in maximum efforts to realise this goal.

         Mr. Speaker, Sir, in the world of to-day political developments in one country cast their inescapable shadows on the others. And in the case of Meghalaya, political developments in the erstwhile East Pakistan did and will  have profound effect upon our social and economic life. With influx of refugees in an almost unparalleled manner in the history of the world and its consequent repercussions, the economy of this poor State of ours was put to a severe strain. A challenge like this was perhaps not faced by any other State during the initial years of its life. I will not be accused of undue self-praise if I submit to this august House that this challenge was adequately met by the new born State of ours. The administration stood up as one man during those critical days in our history to the best extent possible and delivered the goods. It is a tribute to the administration as well as to the people who displayed  unexpected endurance and a lasting faith in the values which we traditionally cherish. Looking back now, it is indeed heartening to note that the seemingly endless night of autocratic tyranny on the teeming millions of the erstwhile East Pakistan came to an end with the help of our valiant Army. The sun of freedom rose in the eastern horizon for this unfortunate group of our neighbors across the border and ultimately there emerged the Sovereign Democratic Republic of Bangladesh. Ours was the first country to recognise this youngest nation of the world as a sovereign country and almost the entire comity of nations followed suit in no time. We hope that our vital border trade which got such a rude jolt after the partition of the country twenty-five years ago will again be normalised, thereby giving sustenance to our hard hit border people in particular and to the overall economy of the State in general

Meghalaya Contribution during war with Pakistan.

      I may also be permitted to refer to our humble contribution to the war efforts of the nation against the ruthless attack of Pakistan. Soon after the declaration of war by Pakistan in December, 1971, a Citizens' Council was was formed in our State with the Chief Minister as its Chairman. Branches of this Council were constituted in all the Districts and subdivisions of the State. The Citizens' Council directed popular efforts in promoting the welfare of the fighting forces and attempted to ensure maximum participation of the common man in the national war effort. Donations were collected for the National Defence Fund to augment Government's  resources in fighting the war. A campaign was launched to enroll blood donors and the response was  overwhelming. Gift articles were collected for the armed forces and a sum of Rs.1,06.949.60 p. was presented to the Prime Minister on the day she inaugurated Meghalaya as a full-fledged State.

Additional Resource Mobilisation for Bangladesh refugees.

      The Government of India introduced certain legislative measures aimed at mobilising additional resources for providing relief to the ten million refugees from Bangladesh. In line with the other States of the country and in pursuance of the instructions from the Government of India, various measures were taken by this Government to raise additional revenue in aid of refugee relief. Our efforts in this line are still continuing and during the current session I may have the privilege to move certain bills in this House with that end in view. The war has brought home to us the paramount need for attaining economic self-reliance even if it involves some additional hardship and sacrifice. I would not like here to repeat the traditional Finance Minister's invocation to tighten the belts, but I will  be failing in my duty if I do not take this opportunity to emphasize the need for observing economy and discipline and to put in hard work to increase production in every field.

Welfare measures for Defence  Services Personnel affected by the Indo-Pak War.

As in the rest of the country the Government of Meghalaya adopted various measures for the welfare of the officers and men in the Army, Navy, Air Force and Para-Military Forces which were killed or disabled in action during the recent operations against Pakistan. These concessions have been extended to the Army,  Navy, Air Force, and B.S.F. Personnel, who are or were permanent residents of Meghalaya.

Review of Economic Situation

     I would now like to mention briefly some of the broad trends in the Nation's economy which have a bearing on the economy of our State. The year 1971-72  was one of the most difficult years which the country has faced since independence, mainly because of the influx of Bangladesh refugees and the war with Pakistan. As a result, plan targets fell short. Industrial  production in the organised sector during the year may not grow by more than 4 percent. The rise in the first 8 months of 1971 was only 2 percent as compared with 5.5. percent during the corresponding period of the previous year. Agriculture, on the other hand, showed a satisfactory rate of growth in the country.

Price Situation 

      Average price rise in the calendar year 1971 was 3.9 percent as compared with a 6.2 percent rise in the previous year. At the end of January, 1971 , the price level was 4.1 percent higher than at the same time a year ago. It is inevitable that the impact of the war will continue to be felt on the price situation and on the economy of the country.

National Income.

 According  to the estimates of the Central Statistical Organisation, the National Income of the country increased by 5.3 percent during 1969-70 as against 2.4 percent during 1968-69. This rate is marginally lower than the average annual rate of growth as envisaged in the 4th plan. This rate of growth was also not commensurate with the rate of growth of population. During 1970-71, the National Income according to a tentative estimate showed an increase of 5 percent to 5.5. percent over 1969-70. The per capita income during 1969-70 in terms of 1960-61 prices was estimated at Rs.339.40 p. as against Rs.329.90 p. in the previous year. At current prices the  per capita income was put at Rs.589.30 p. during 1969-70. This encouraging trend in the National income is due mainly to the consistent progress in agricultural production which registered a steady rate of growth. During 1971-72 the output of foodgrains in the country was expected to increase by about 4 percent  or 4 to 5 million tonnes over the level attained in the previous year and to reach the figure of 112 million tonnes.

Meghalaya in All-India context.

      The machinery for collection of data regarding State income and per capita income in Meghalaya is being built up. While I am not in a position to give accurate figures relating to the per capita income in Meghalaya yet it is well-known that we are extremely backward and  much remains to be done in the agricultural as well as industrial sector to bring Meghalaya at par with other advanced States in the country. The number of factory workers per lakh of population in Meghalaya was only 161 as against the All-India average of 1071 and the Assam average of 616. The Government of India have declared the whole State as industrially backward and have applied the scheme for incentives for industrial development to all the districts of the State.

      We have excellent hydro electric power potential and yet the per capital consumption electricity here is one of the lowest in the country.

       Nature has been bountiful to us with regard to mineral resources which are still to be fully surveyed and utilised. The setback of the early sixties is still having its effect on our local coal mining industry. In case of Silimanite also the performance has not been very satisfactory. Only limestone production has registered some improvement.

Agricultural Production

       Cultivation over a large area is still on the shifting pattern thus leading to waste. Low inputs and lack of improved agricultural practices have combined to make the overall agricultural  yield  disappointingly low. Still in 1970-71 there has been a marginal increase in production of foodgrains over that of 1969-70. Production of jute and mesta is expected to register a slight increase this year as against 1970-71. Potato output is expected to be better during 1971-72,  exact statistics on which are still being collected. Recently a special scheme has bee prepared to take up a programme for settling those engaged  in jhumming by reclaiming land, terracing, development of irrigation facilities etc. The scheme has been submitted to the Government of India for sanctioning of necessary funds.

      The other main crops of the State are oranges, arecanut, betel leaf, pine apple, bananas, etc.

Border Transport subsidy for essential  commodities

      As we are to import to of the essential commodities from other States, spikes of these articles are always higher in Meghalaya than in the neighboring  States. The problem of transportation is very much there and mores so in the border areas where a transport subsidy scheme had to be adopted to provide some relief to the border people.

Problem of Unemployment

       With the fast increase in the number of educated youths, the problem of educated and semi-educated un-employment has raised its head in our State also. It is expected that employment potential would be created  through development programme like soil conservation, road construction, small-scale industries, rural works health and education programmes though this problem calls for sustained efforts over a number of years.

Fourth Plan and the Annual Plan 1972-73.

     When Meghalaya was created as an autonomous State the outlay for its  Fourth Plan was fixed at Rs.38 crores by taking out a share of the Assam Hill Plan outlay. Now that Meghalaya has become a full State, it has to get a share of the outlay of the general Plan of the Assam State also. The Fourth  Plan of Assam before the division comprised of the general Plan and the Plan for the Hill areas. Out of the general outlay of Rs.225.50 crores for the Fourth Plan for Assam Rs.65 crores was meant for the Hill Plan and Rs.160.50 crores for the general Plan. Subsequently, on a reappraisal of the resources, the State Plan was raised to  Rs.236.75 crores and the Hill Plan was raised to Rs.65.75 crores. The Hill Plan consisted only of District Level  schemes for all the districts of composite Assam and some outlays common to all the hill districts. The State level schemes were included in the general Plan. At the time of allocation of the Plan outlays to Meghalaya,  only the Hill Plan outlay was divided as between Meghalaya and the Hill Areas of the rest of Assam. On the whole, Meghalaya could get only Rs.38 crores for the 5 year period which was inclusive of the Plan expenditure during 1969-70, the year in which Meghalaya had not become an autonomous State. The outlays for the Plan of Meghalaya drawn on this basis were extremely inadequate and left no scope for expenditure on the State level Schemes. In addition, the Shillong Municipal and Cantonment areas have been transferred to Meghalaya Government with effect from 21st January 1972 on coming into force of the North -Eastern Areas (Re- organisation) Act, 1971. The responsibility of continuing the development schemes undertaken by the Government of Assam in these areas has developed  upon the Government of Meghalaya without  any corresponding  increase in the Plan outlays. It would, therefore, appear that the original Fourth Plan allocation for Meghalaya did not take into account the implementation and continuation of such schemes in these areas at the time of division of the Hill Plan outlay of Assam between  Meghalaya and the Hill District of the rest of Assam.

         This question has, therefore been taken up with the Planning commission and the Government of India. We look forward to a sympathetic consideration of our request by the  Government of India, as a  result of which it is hoped that the size of the State fourth  Plan may go up to a certain extent, making implementation of bigger programmes possible in the remaining two years of the  Fourth Plan.

         The First Annual Plan of Meghalaya, i.e., for the year 1970-71, provided for an outlay of Rs.7.25 crores for the State sector programmes and the implementation started only from September, 1970. Against this outlay of Rs.7.25 crores, expenditure amounted to Rs.7.65 crores.

         The Plan outlay for the Annual Plan 1971-72 was fixed at Rs.7.95 crores. According to provisional estimates the entire outlay was spent during the year. For the year 1972-73, the Plan outlay has been fixed at Rs.8.25 crores. This includes Rs.7.22 crores as central assistance. The balance amount of Rs.1.03 crores is to be raised by loans from the Life Insurance Corporation of India, open market loans by the State Government etc. In addition there  is a provision for undertaking  a special employment programme to the extent of Rupees ten lakhs. As against the accepted procedure of the  Central Government giving grant on condition that the State Government gives cent percent matching grant, we have requested the Government of India to waive this requirement of giving matching grant by the State due to our meagre resources and to give us the entire amount of Rupees ten lakhs by way of Central assistance.

Plan priorities.

        As the development programme of Meghalaya depend, to a large extent, upon a good communications system, high priority has been given in the Annual Plan to the road  development programmes. Priority has also been  given to agriculture and allied programmes. in the field of Industrial development, emphasis is being placed on the building up of infrastructure and other prerequisites and quickly as possible so that development and economic utilisation of the natural resources of the State can be taken up. In the sphere of social services, increased facilities for general and technical education, medical, public health services, residential housing and water supply have been provided for. Provision  has also been made for accelerated  development of border areas, Besides, the District Councils with continue to receive assistance from the Government for financing their own Plans.

Special Development Programme.

     Certain special development programmes have been drawn up outside the Plan and submitted to the Government of India. These special programmes relate to regrouping of villages in Garo Hills, road projects of strategic and economic importance, Shillong Water Supply Scheme, development of Shillong, Tura and Jowai towns and rehabilitation of border economy. The State Government have set up a Working Group to go into the details of the project for re-grouping of villages in Garo Hills as required  by the Planning Commission. For rehabilitation of the border area economy, an integrated scheme is being drawn up. The project report for the Shillong Water Supply Scheme has been prepared and submitted to the Government of India for the purpose of arranging funds for the project.

Agriculture

       The main objectives underlying the Agricultural Plan have been the creation of conditions conducive to higher growth rate in agricultural production by popularizing improved and scientific methods of cultivation amongst the farmers and building up the infrastructure to support these programmes. The expenditure on agricultural programmes including minor irrigation  warehousing, storage and marketing rose from Rs.50.81 lakhs in 1969-70 to Rs.69.40 lakhs during the year 1970-71. In the field of agriculture including  minor irrigation, the developmental activities started in the past were being continued and the allocation in the State Plan has also increased from Rs.67 lakhs for the year 1971-72 to Rs.90.00 lakhs for the year 1972-73. Out of the current year's allocation Rs.65.00 lakhs have been provided for  schemes under agricultural production, land reforms, research education and training and the balance amount of Rs.25.00 lakhs has been earmarked for minor irrigation schemes. In addition, the  Agriculture Department is implementing programmes to the extent of Rs.5.10  lakhs under border Areas Programmes. The total anticipated production of food-grains during the year 1971-72 was 145,000 tonnes as against the production of 123,700 tonnes in 1970-71.

Small Farmers Development Agencies and Marginal Farmers and Agricultural Labourers Schemes.

      The projects for the benefit of small and marginal farmers and agricultural labourers were sanctioned by the Government of India in September, 1971 each entailing a total outlay of Rs.100 lakhs. These projects  known as the Small Farmers, Marginal Farmers and Agricultural Labourers Development Agencies were registered under the Registration of Societies. Act, 1860, during the month of November, 1971. These are credit-oriented project which will arrange  loans from co-operative and commercial banks for the small and marginal farmers and support these loans by way of adequate in-put subsidies in the field of agriculture, animal husbandry and rural artisanry. For the agricultural labourers there are schemes to provide them with subsidiary occupations like dairy and poultry etc. It is expected that both the Agencies together will benefit a total number of 30.000 small and marginal farmers and 10,000 agricultural labourers within the Fourth Plan period by arranging purposeful programme aimed at substantial increase in the income. The Agency with headquarters at Shillong has taken up 3 blocks viz., Bhoi, Mawryngkneng and Thadlaskein and the second Agency with headquarters at Tura has taken up these programmes in Rongjeng and  Resubelpara blocks. These activities may be also be extended to other blocks.

Projects with foreign collaboration

     In my last Budget Speech, I had mentioned about the Government of India's proposal to locate a Special Area Development Project for agricultural development with  Norwegian collaboration. This project is still being processed by the Government of India and it is expected that his project and the schemes under 'Freedom from Hunger Programme' with financial assistance from the Government of Japan will be approved during the current financial year.

Special Project for Control of Jhumming.

      Studies have already been made in consultation with the Government of India for a special project for improving the way of life and methods of agriculture of the jhum cultivators in the State. It is expected that this project will also make some headway during the current year.

Training 

      As the hon'ble members are aware, there is a great dearth of trained technical personnel and subject matter specialists in the Development Departments. The Government have already taken steps to depute officers for training in the other parts of the Country and abroad. One officer was sent to Australia and another to Scotland last year and one officer has been sent to England this year for the purpose of training.

Production of Potato etc.

      There has been a marked increase in potato production after the introduction of disease-resistant varieties like SLB-67. SLB-391  and SLB -848. Another new variety of potato, namely , Kufri-Joyti, has also been recently introduced in Meghalaya. This variety has been brought from Himachal Pradesh and can be raised twice  in a year.

       As it is essential to provide research support to all the agricultural programmes, specially those connected with improved  and high-yielding varieties  of crops, the Government has drawn up a detailed programme to establish laboratories and soil-testing stations and to conduct surveys and investigations required for the purpose. The Government of India have sanctioned one mobile soil-testing laboratory. The Agriculture Department have also taken up experimental sub-soil mulching programme which utilizes the base of jungle weeds and jungle growths  prevailing during the monsoon for conversion into good organic manure aimed at increased fertility of the soil.

Horticulture

     Horticulture in this State is an important field of farming activity. Besides the creation of a separate Horticulture Wing in the Directorate of Agriculture, a scheme has also been drawn up for strengthening the research base in this direction. There is a proposal to set up a full-fledged Research Station on a temperate fruits with financial assistance from the Government of India, and another scheme for the rehabilitation of citrus cultivation in Meghalaya is proposed to be taken up. The Government of India have also proposed an intensive horticultural development programme on watershed basis which is being processed by the Agriculture Department. It may not be out of place to mention here that we participated  in the All-India Pineapple Show organised by the Government of India at Gauhati during August, 1971, and we not only won a large number of prizes but also were awarded the All-India Shield.

     An officer was also deputed for training in artificial  cultivation of mushroom at Solan in Himachal Pradesh. It is proposed to start an experimental mushroom cultivation station in this State very soon.

Supply of Agricultural Machineries.

     One of the encouraging features in the field of agriculture in our State has been a general awareness among the farmers in the rural areas about the tremendous potentialities, scope and the vast range of benefits accruing from scientific mechanised cultivation, harnessing and application of water to crops and processing and scientific warehousing of the products. During the last year there was an unprecedented demand from rural areas for tractors and bulldozers for land reclamation and land development works. In order to cater to these needs of the farmers, the Department of Agriculture have started an Agricultural Engineering Wing which is further sub-divided into four separate cells each dealing with agricultural machinery, minor irrigation engineering research and construction works respectively.

Animal Husbandry

     All the programmes of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Department are aimed at increased production of milk, eggs and meat. While there has been a substantial increase in the production of eggs and milk in the State, the piggery development programme has not made such impact as the programme initially based on propagation of Yorkshire breed was not preferred by the  people of the State. Efforts are now being made to introduce the  Saddle-back and Berkshire breeds of pigs and it is expected that the programme will gain momentum  by the end of the current financial year. The Government of India have agreed to the recommendations of the Danish experts for establishment of one Indo-Danish Project at Upper Shillong which will re-organise the Upper Shillong Livestock Farm, impart training to local farmers in the modern methods of management and rearing of animals, and breed of good  cows from the basic stock of 30 Friesian cows and 3 Friesian Bulls which will be given by the Government of Denmark. An Intensive Cattle Development Programme has also been taken up. Establishment of Stockman Centres and Semen Banks has been started and it is expected that about 20,000 cows  will be covered by the artificial insemination programme. In this connection, one key village block has been established and it is proposed to establish more such centres during the current year. Distribution of improved breeds of sheep and goats has also been taken up to popularise rearing of these animals.

         For veterinary aids and control of animal diseases, 2 veterinary dispensaries and 4 Veterinary aid centres have been established and 2 additional mobile veterinary dispensaries have been commissioned. The mobile units  will be used for giving veterinary aids in the border areas. A training programme has also been taken up and number of students have been deputed for training  as Veterinary Field Assistant and Graduates in Veterinary science. Meanwhile, a farmers' training programme in poultry has also been continuing successfully. District  and Sub divisional Offices have also been strengthened though we continue to feel the wide gaps in the staffing pattern due to non-availability of technical personnel. 

      The town milk supply scheme and the milk chilling plant in Nayabunglow have been operating satisfactorily, and there is a proposal to establish a bottling and pasteurization plant at a strategic place. It is also proposed to establish a creamery and ghee making plant in Garo Hills.

Fisheries.

       There is a great scope for fishery development in the State and there is a provision of Rs.20 lakhs for fisher development during the 4th Five Year Plan period. The development schemes include fish seed farms, financial assistance to pisciculturist, development of reservoir fisheries, conservation and protection of river fisheries, strengthening of the administrative and supervisory machinery, and training  and research. Besides this, the fisher development  programmes are also being taken up under the Applied Nutrition Programme in the border areas with an additional outlay of Rs.0.15 lakhs. A  provision of Rs.1.50.400  has been made in the current year's  budget and this amount will be spent in running the normal administration and maintaining schemes which were completed before the commencement of the 4th Plan. The target of fish production as approved by the Planning Commission is 300 tonnes for Meghalaya for the year 1972-73.

Co-operation

      The State Government have taken steps to streamline and ensure healthy growth of co-operative societies in the urban as well as the rural areas. Loans for agricultural purposes given by co-operative societies have registered an increase in their quantum and this is a sure indication that the co-operative societies in the State are gaining ground. During the year 1971-72, however no new sub-area marketing societies and other co-operative societies were organised with a view to strengthen the financial base of the existing societies. This  was done by way of assistance in the shape of share capital contribution managerial subsidy, loan and subsidy for construction of godowns. The results have been encouraging. The Meghalaya  Co-operative Apex Bank was given a share capital contribution of Rs.5 lakhs and a managerial subsidy of Rs.1.50 lakhs in order to take-up agricultural loaning operations and the Hill Development  Corporation was given a share capital contribution  of Rs.1.99 lakhs for organising  procurement and distribution of fertilisers. The approved outlay for the year 1972-73 is Rs.27 lakhs and it is expected that this amount will be sufficient to put  the already existing co-operatives on a more stable footing.

Soil Conservation

     With the continuance of jhum cultivation and wastage of land resources, the Soil Conservation Department and its activities have assumed vital importance.  Re-organisation of the Ranges and Beats in all the districts of the State was taken up during the last year and it is proposed to continue the process this year. Besides, the Department also proposes to take up terracing. Contour bounding and land reclamation on an extensive scale supported, whatever necessary, by follow-up programmes of supply of improved seeds, fertilisers and irrigation facilities. An afforestation programme to conserve the watersheds and catchments areas is also being taken up. People who cannot take up terracing on hills where the gradient is unsuitable for the purpose will be assisted in the cultivation of cash crops and horticultural crops. The total outlay for Soil Conservation in the Annual Plan for the year 1972-73. is Rs.25.00 lakhs.

Community Development

     During the current year we have a total number of 24 Blocks in the State, out of which 10 Blocks are in the Stage II and 14 Blocks in Post-Stage II. An amount of Rs.20 lakhs has been provided under the State Plan and Rs.27.60  lakhs in the normal budget for implementing the  Community Development Programmes. The number of Tribal Development  Blocks in this State is 16 in Stage been  provided for the Tribal Development Blocks by the II and 7 in Stage III  and an amount of Rs.32 lakhs has Government of India. 

      To meet the problem of malnutrition in the villages, a special programme called Applied Nutrition Programme was taken up during the last financial year in collaboration with the UNICEF, FAO and WHO. Although the programme  involves the agriculture, horticulture  poultry, fishery, medical and health and  education departments the responsibility for co-organising the programme has been entrusted to the Community Development Department. During the year 1972-73 the programme will be taken up in 5 Blocks with a provision of Rs.1.70 lakhs under Central assistance and Rs.1.35 lakhs out of Community Development budget.

        Another  programme, known as the Special Nutrition Programme was also started with a view to provide supplementary nutrition to the younger group of children belonging to the weaker section of the community in the slum and tribal areas in order to counteract the serious effects of malnutrition amongst them. An amount of Rs.1.88 lakhs was spent under this  programme during the last year and an amount of Rs.2.84 lakhs is proposed to be spent during the current year. One crash scheme for rural employment was taken up with an outlay of Rs.25 lakhs during the year 1971-72. this scheme has been implemented in all the Blocks with a view to generating employment amongst the weakest sections of rural communities. The scheme will continue during the year 1972-73 and the Government of India has already been apprised of our requirement of funds which may  be of the same pattern as last year.

        The Pilot Research Project in Growth Centres was also started during the last financial year to locate potential growth centres. The Project is basically concerned with development of methodology for planning and development of Rural Growth Centres in the country. The term of the project is of five years duration and it will continue during the current financial year. 

         Besides the aforementioned activities of the Community Development Department, the Blocks have also been consistently busy with the extension work of agriculture and other Departments. It must, of course, be said that during the last financial year most of the officers in the Blocks were engaged in the refugee relief operations which hampered the implementation of the  Community Development Programme  and the entire work of the year had almost to be done within the last few months of the financial year.

Forest

       Forest constitute a very important  natural resource of the State and their proper management is of utmost  importance for the economy of Meghalaya.  Ways and means for proper management of forests with the co-operation of the District Councils are being studied. During the last year emphasis was placed on raising of valuable trees like Teak and medicinal plants like Ipecac supported by organisation of forest research and protection measures. The process will continue during the current year and the plan outlay for forests is Rs.20.00 lakhs. It is also expected that the revenue from forest will go up by about  Rs.2 lakhs during the current year.

Revenue and Agricultural Credit.

      In is common knowledge that the land tenure system in Meghalaya is generally of a nature which had created difficulties in mortgaging of land by the agriculturists in the State. The State government have been examining for quite some time in consultation with  the District Councils the possibility of working out  a system whereby agricultural credit can be expended to our agriculturists without radically changing  the social pattern of our society. Efforts to evolve a system by which ownership of land can be identified so that the credit requirements of the farmers can be met easily by the financial  institutions are being continued both by the District Councils and the Government. It is expected that effective steps will be taken to solve this problem and institutional credit will flow in ensuring sustained agricultural growth.

Weights and Measures

      Weights and Measures Department has a statutory function to standardize and enforce all weights and measures in the State according to the Metric System. The task is by no means easy because it involves complete change of age-old  units of measurements and weights. The programmes of the Department will be supported by adequate publicity so that adoption and use of metric system becomes a common practice in the State.

Health

 On the 21st January, 1972 , the following medical institutions were taken over from the Government of Assam

1. Pasteur Institute, Shillong ;

2. Ganesh Das Hospital, Shillong ;

3. Shillong Civil Hospital Shillong ;

5. Laban Dispensary ; and

6. Contributory Health Scheme Centres.

      The State Public Health  Laboratory will be transferred to Meghalaya after Assam Government starts its own, though we will continue to contribute a part of the expenditure and use the services of this laboratory  as before. Even before the creation of the full-fledged  State of Meghalaya early  this year, the there were 67 dispensaries and 24 block dispensaries in the State besides the hospitals in Jowai and Tura. It is proposed to construct a part of the proposed new hospital at  Tura and expand the existing Jowai Civil Hospital as soon as possible. It is also proposed to establish Health  Education Bureaus. Five Nutritional Therapy Centres for the benefit  of the under-nourished children have also been functioning in the State.

      The Government have already sanctioned additional incentives to doctors serving in rural areas so that more doctors are attracted and the problem of shortage of doctors in rural areas is solved early.

      Out of the annual plan outlay of Rs.25 lakhs during 1971-72 only an amount of Rs.15.25 lakhs could be spent partly due to  technical reasons and partly due to the strain on the personnel on account of relief operations. During  the current year, a sum of Rs.30.00 lakhs has  been provided for in the Plan, which includes programmes calculated to make up the backlog in expansion and establishment of hospitals, training of Para-medical personnel and development of existing dispensaries.

       Besides, the normal programmes, the Health Department has also been implementing  some National schemes like Malaria Eradication Programme, Small-pox Eradication Programme, Filaria control Programme and programmes to control diseases like trachoma, leprosy and cholera. Family Planning is one of the major centrally sponsored schemes being executed by the Medical and Health Department. 

Education

         Before initiating the steps for improvement of education in Meghalaya, the State Government was very keen to decide on the type of education that we should impart to our children. With this end in view and also to determine whether the education being given now is suitable for our State, a commission was constituted which is currently studying the problem and will make its recommendations available within a short time. The Government have also taken up projects for teaching science in selected middle schools and have set up a State  Sports council for improvement in the field of sports.  The Government is also considering the appointment of a Text Book Committee. Our secondary education and higher education is still under the control of the Gauhati University and the  Government  are considering  the evolving of a suitable arrangement in this regard. A  full time Director of Public Instruction has been has been appointed to streamline the educational administration. The Government is also considering the proposal to create 20 scholarships for students of Meghalaya reading in Sainik Schools.

      As the hon'ble members know, our State is very far behind other States in the field of technical education. In spite of the restrictive policy currently followed by the Government of India due to unemployment of engineers and technicians, we have sent a proposal for introduction of electrical and mechanical  engineering course in the Shillong Polytechnic to meet the requirements of the situation in Meghalaya. It is hoped that a Girls' Polytechnic will also become a reality during the 4th Plan and will include  courses like food technology, pharmacy and tele-communications. Steps are also being taken to start another polytechnic school for boys. Provisions have been made for the programme of  Scholarships, text books and establishment of a Directorate of Technical Education. Government  have also constituted the State Social Welfare Board of Meghalaya.

Labour

      Labour Department which deals mainly with industrial harmony between employers and employees, training in craftsmanship and certain regulatory and inspection functions with regard to industry as a whole, has, as a subject, come over to Meghalaya on 21st January, 1972. The work for creation of Directorates and Inspectorates has been taken up. The institutions so far under the control of this Department are Employment Exchanges at Shillong, Jowai and Tura and the  Industrial Training Institute at Tura. The Industrial  Training Institute, Shillong at present functioning at Guwahati will be shifted to Shillong as soon as possible.

District  Councils

      The Government  have continued to assist the District councils financially, and especially in their  schemes for rural water supply, rural communications and construction of buildings. There is a provision of Rs.25 lakhs during the year 1972-73 for the above schemes.

Comments of the District Council on the District Budget

     The estimate of receipt and expenditure for 1972-73 pertaining to the District were first placed before the respective District Councils with a view to eliciting their comments. The comments of the members of the District Councils which were  received  have been considered by the Government. I would like to make it clear that the State would like to make it clear that the State Government attach due  importance to the views expressed by the members of the District Councils. Efforts are made to make adequate provisions depending upon the requirements and availability of funds. The  State Government are working  under financial limitation  and constraints both on the Plan as well as on Non-Plan side. The allocations have to be made within the limitation of overall resources position of the State. The provisions for Plan Schemes are fixed in consultation  with the Planning Commission. In view of these circumstances Honourable Members would appreciate that  it may not be possible to act upon all the suggestions of the members of the District Councils, though utmost effort is made to accommodate them as far as  possible.

Municipal Administration

      The Municipal Administration Department which had been looking after the Garo Hills  Town Committee only till 21st January, 1972, has also started looking after the Shillong Municipality after the creation of the full State of Meghalaya. An amount of Rs.15,000 has been provided as grant to these local bodies this year and an amount of Rs.1,40,000  has been proposed as loan to the Shillong Municipality during the year 1972-73 to improve the Shillong Town Water Supply.

Public Works 

       On account of geographical conditions in Meghalaya, roads are vital for developing the economy of the State. We now have about 3450 Km. of roads net-work  in the State. The completion of the double line Someswawri Bridge at Baghmara within record time was a commendable achievement of the Public Works Department. The completion of the concrete bridge near Balat has also been very helpful in movement of supplies and for National Defence. Work on Maheshkhola Bridge is also in progress and the constructing of the Chibinang Bridge in Garo Hills will also be taken up shortly.

Public Health

     The Public Health Department completed 8 water supply schemes during the last year benefiting a population of over 11,000 in the rural areas. 20 more water supply schemes are also in progress and 10 new schemes will be taken up during the year 1972-73.

      The Greater Shillong Waster Supply Scheme costing Rs.336.70 lakhs in the first phase has been sent to the Government of India for technical approval and arrangement of funds.

Urban Development

     During the current year it is proposed to take up the formulation and implementation of certain schemes  for Urban Development. The Directorate of Town and Country Planning and Housing has already been startled and housing loans under the Low Income Group Housing Scheme will be given this year to the extent funds are available.

Supply

     The supply machinery in the State had undergone great stress due to the problem of refugees during last year. But the position of supplies and the prices were reasonably kept under control, though few cases of temporary and local price rise were noticed. The problem of feeding the refugees was a colossal one, but the Government met this problem successfully in spite of the ill-equipped supply machinery. The Government have taken up a transport subsidy scheme financed by the Government of India to enable the people in the border areas to purchase essential food-stuff at prices prevailing at the district headquarters. We are getting regular allotment of rice, wheat and sugar from the Government of India and the supply position in the State is generally satisfactory. There is an acute scarcity of cement, C.I. Sheets, Iron and Steel, etc., in the State and the question of increasing the supply of these items has been taken up with the Government of India.

Tourism

     During the current year, it is proposed to take up schemes for development of places of tourist interest, and conducted tours for  tourists.

Transport 

      Although the Assam State Road Transport Corporation has been re-named the Assam and Meghalaya States Road Transport corporation after 21st January, 1972, a final decision regarding the continuance of a joint Corporation is expected to be taken within a few months. The State Transport Authority has already been constituted and a scheme to run departmental bus services, on some interior routes is  already under implementation. 

Industries 

      In order to assess the industrial potential of the Sate, a techno-economic survey was conducted  last year through the National Industrial Development corporation. Based on the report of the Corporation, negotiations are underway with consultancy firms for preparation of feasibility studies of possible industries in the State. The Meghalaya Industrial  Development Corporation has been set up and we have already entered into negotiations for establishing a Cinnamon Oil Distilling Plant. The Assam Cement Limited at Cherrapunjee has also come over to Meghalaya and steps have been taken to improve the functioning of the Company. Schemes  have also been taken up to develop  village and small scale industries.

Sericulture and Weaving

     As Meghalaya is ideally suited for development of sericulture and weaving, 10 schemes were taken up during the year 1971-72 at a total cost of Rs.6 lakhs. Eri concentration centres and collective mulberry gardens have already been established and muga and wild silk  worm rearing have also been introduced  on an experimental basis. It is proposed during the current year to expand the grants-in-kind facilities in Garo Hills District as the weaving industry is practically confined to that district. The Annual Plan outlay for sericulture and district. The annual Plan outlay for sericulture and weaving including handloom co-operatives is of the order of Rs.  9 lakhs for the current year.

Power and Electricity

     The achievements in the power sector so far have been the construction of a 132 KM. line from Shillong to Cherrapunjee, Construction  of distribution sub-stations and extension of 33 Km.11 kv. and other lines for rural electrification. Out of a total of 40 villages proposed to be electrified during the last year, only 6 villages could be actually electrified. The short fall can be  ascribed to difficulties in transportation and booking of  materials to Assam and Meghalaya from outside the State. An outlay of Rs.38 lakhs has been proposed for the year 1972-73 for the spillover works as well as the new rural electrification programme. 

Mining and Geology.

      This work was earlier entrusted to the Government of Assam but we have recently established our own Directorate of Mineral Resources. A number of mineral occurrences have been located in the State.

Information and Public Relation

      The Government have taken steps to streamline this Department and an outlay of Rs.7.56 lakhs has been proposed for the purpose. The schemes  to be taken up this year include publication of bulletins at the District level, purchase of vehicles, exhibitions,  rural broadcasting, publicity through cultural media, films and other audio-visual publicity and printing of publicity literature for distribution in the villages.

Political

     It may be worthwhile mentioning at the outset that the Police administration in Meghalaya  has been  separated from that of Assam recently and we have also acquired an Armed Police Battalion of our own. The possibility of smuggling  of arms and ammunition from across the border poses a serious danger and the State Government has proposed to establish a number of check posts on the border for the purpose. The law and order situation has generally been normal except for influx of a number of Pnars from Mikir Hills District into Jaintia Hills  District due to repressive  treatment meted out to them. The Government has taken up the matter with the Government of Assam so that conditions can be created for early return of these Pnar villagers  to their homes. The Government also proposes to liberalise border trade across the border with  Bangladesh and to establish border hats  for the purpose. We also take this opportunity to appreciate the efforts of the Government of India and the Government of Bangladesh directed to establish better trade relations between the two countries.

Services 

      Members are aware that under the provisions of the North-Eastern Areas (Re-organisations) Act., 1971, staff (other than members of the All-India Services) serving in connection with the affairs of the existing State of Meghalaya including those already serving under the Government of the then Autonomous State of Meghalaya, are to be finally allocated between the Government of the State  of Assam and the Government of the State of Meghalaya as may be determined by an agreement between the two Governments. Pending final agreement  for allocation of staff belonging to different State Services as between Assam and Meghalaya, an understanding has been reached with the Government, of Assam that the staff now serving in connection with the affairs of Meghalaya, including those who may later be required  to serve, shall be treated as on deputation but without any deputation allowance. The question of constitution of various services in the Sate of Meghalaya consequent on the allocation of the staff as between  Assam and Meghalaya, is now under the consideration of the Government.

      Under Section 70 of the North Eastern Areas (Re-organisation) Act,1971, the Public Service Commission  for the existing State of Assam as defined in the aforesaid Act ceased to have jurisdiction over the State of Meghalaya in matters of recruitment to posts and service in connection with the affairs of Meghalaya, and consequently, the Assam Public Service Commission (Limitation of Functions) Regulations,1951, as amended ceased to be applicable in respect of any recruitment matters provided there under concerning  posts and service  under  the Government of Meghalaya. The State Government have decided to set up a Public Service Commission for Meghalaya.

Elections

      The First General Election to the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly and the Bye-Election to the Lok Sabha from Tura Parliamentary constituency were held simultaneously on the 9th March 1972. Elections to the District Councils of Garo Hills and Khasi Hills were also conducted during 1972. Polling in the State was smooth and the response from the electorate was good.

Census 

      The major work on the decennial Census has almost been completed and some of the officers have been awarded medals for meritorious work.

Relief to Government Employees.

     Government are keen to meet the needs  of their employees as far as possible within the financial constraints and limited resources. The Scheme for House Rent Allowance adopted in 1970-71 in view of prevailing acute scarcity of housing accommodation will be continued during the current year also. The State Government have also decided to grant interim relief to their employees on the scale recommended by the Pay Commission set up by the Assam Government.

Budget for 1972-73

     Mr, Speaker, Sir, now I have the privilege to present the first budget of the new State of Meghalaya. The Budget  estimates for 1972-73 now presented include, the provisions made in the vote-on-Account budget passed by this august House in March last. Some modifications in the estimates for the whole year under certain Heads have, however, been made in the light of further scrutiny as well as new requirements.

       Provision of Rs.50 lakhs has also been made for contribution to the Contingency Fund

       The salient features of the budget  estimates for 1972-73 are as follows :-

RECEIPTS

Items

 Amount in lakhs of rupees

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

2,75.00

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

1,93.19

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

Grants .............................................................. 1,53.59
(iv) Grants from Ministry of Transport for construction and maintenance of border roads, etc.

1,26.10

(v) Central assistance for Plan expenditure

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

6,49.80

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

72.20

(vi) Central assistance for Centrally Sponsored Schemes. 1,69.70
(vii) States receipts .................... 1,56.23
(viii) Market loan 52.00
(ix) Loan from Life Insurance Corporation of India 30.00
(x) Temporary Ways and Means Advances from  Reserve Bank of India 1,10.00
                                                                  Total - A 19,87.81
B. Surplus in the Public Account 10.00
C. Opening cash balance................................ (-)55.54
                                          Total - Resources (A+B+C) 19,42.27

EXPENDITURE

( In lakhs of rupees)
Item Plan Non-Plan Total
A. Expenditure.
1. Gross revenue expenditure 6,34.11 13,47.21

19,81.32

Deduct Recoveries

5.00

1,07.99

1,12.99

Net revenue

6,29.11

12,39.22 18,68.33
2.. Gross capital expenditure 3,54.86 5,16.54 8,71.40
Deduct Recoveries 9.27 55,77 63.04
Net Capital expenditure 3,45.59 4,60.77 8,06.36
Total  - Gross 9,88,97 18,63.75 28,52.72
             Net 9,74.70 16,99.99 26,74.69
B. Closing Cash Balance .... ..... (-)7,32.42
Total - (A+B) 9,74.70 16,99.99 19,42.27

     Thus  the budget Estimates for 1972-73 will close with an over-all deficit of Rs.(-)732.42 lakhs. The deficit gap of Rs.(-)200.86 lakhs in the estimates for 1971-72 now comes to Rs.(-)55.54 lakhs under the revised estimates.

Deficit in the Budget.

     According to the financial estimates included in the budget for 1972-73, the year will end up with a deficit of Rs.732.42 lakhs. I am extremely unhappy to present before  this august House a Budget with an over-all deficit of this magnitude. This is due to inescapable reasons which are   beyond the control of the State Government.

       The aforesaid deficit includes the carry-over deficit of Rs.55.54 lakhs from the end of the year 1971-72. As Honourable Members aware, with effect from 21st January, 1972, the Police Administration has come over to the Government of Meghalaya. We have also taken one Armed Police Battalion from Assam for discharging our duties relating to maintenance of law and order. Some of the important institutions such as Jail, Civil Hospital, Ganesh Das Women and Children  Hospital, Reid Chest Hospital, etc., have also been handed over to us. The Government of Meghalaya will have to incur expenditure for the Roads and disburse grants-in-aid, etc., to the educational Institutions falling within the Shillong Municipal and Cantonment Area. All these factors have imposed considerable financial responsibility on us. 

     A provision has been made in the Budget for repayment of Rs.4.13 crores towards principal and interest to the Government of India. While a part of this relates to the repayment of the amounts advanced by the Government of India after the creation of Meghalaya as an Autonomous State, large part relates to the repayment liability as provisionally determined by the Accountant General on Account of the debt liability of the composite State of Assam. In view of the financial position of the State, we would approach the Government of India for writing off this liability of for giving us relief in any other suitable manner considered feasible in these circumstances. As the Honourable Members are perhaps aware, the State of Meghalaya came into being after the last Finance Commission Award was put into implementation. The requirement of the State for running normal administration are yet to be assessed. The State Government propose to place their  case before the next Finance Commission which is being appointed  very shortly. Pending the examination of the case of  the State Government by the Finance Commission, the State Government will move the Government of India for increasing financial assistance for meeting the increased requirement of funds due to the financial liabilities devolving upon in terms of the North-Eastern Areas (Re-organisations) Act, 1971. We look forward  to a sympathetic equitable and just treatment  from the Government of India in this regard considering the peculiar conditions of the State and also in view of the fact that our non-Plan revenue gap has still to be assessed.

        Honourable Members will agree with me that while we shall press for our rightful share from the Government of India yet at the same time we shall strive to become self-reliant and to stand on our own legs. With  this object in view, we have to explore avenues of additional resources mobilisation. The need for accelerated  development of Meghalaya and for running its administration smoothly has placed upon us a responsibility which calls for maximum efforts and sacrifices. I appeal to all the Honourable Members and to the people to co-operate with us in achieving this objective.

       I have made an earnest attempt to present a Budget which reflects and provides for meeting the requirements of our new State of Meghalaya within the framework of financial constraints and limitation of resources. The wholehearted co-operation of the entire people of the State is necessary for ensuring the success of the programmes which we propose to undertake and which have been briefly outlined in the budget. This also requires the co-operation and the best efforts  of the entire administrative machinery. With an earnest appeal to the Honourable Members and to all sections of the people to contribute their mite towards the achievement of our common goal, I present the Budget for 1972-73 for consideration and acceptance of the House.

JAI HIND