Government of Meghalaya
Budget Speech

1977 78

By

Shri Williamson A. Sangma

Chief Minister, Meghalaya

22nd March, 1977

MR. SPEAKER, SIR,

 I rise to present the Annual Financial Statement for the year 1977-78

2.  The  past one year has been a period of consolidation on the economic front. The impressive gains achieved in the wake of the Emergency have been stabilised; and a sense of dynamism has been imparted to the economy.  With a foodgrains buffer stock of 17 million tonnes and an estimated production of 116 million tonnes during 1976-77, the food position in the country can now be regarded as comfortable. Industrial  production has been accelerated and the rate of industrial growth registered  during  the first ten months of 1976 is perhaps the highest recorded in the recent past. Reserves  of foreign exchange mounted to a record level of Rs.2,500 crores, with prospects  of further improvement in the future. It is matter of  concern, though, that prices of some commodities have risen in recent months. Due largely to the monetary expansion caused by inflow of foreign exchange  and increase in credit for food procurement, among other factors, the recent spurt in prices emphasizes the need for constant vigil and caution.

3. The upsurge at the national level has had its impact on Meghalaya too. Due to the inherent weaknesses of the State's economy however, the gains were not as readily evident as in some other parts of the country. The situation on the price front was similar to that obtaining in other parts of the country, with an upward trend in prices being noticed in recent months. In particular, there has been an appreciable increase in the prices of edible oils. The Government are anxious that appropriate corrective measures are taken and imbalances between demand and supply rectified at an early date.

National Fifth Plan.

4. Thanks to the improved economic climate in the country, it has been possible to finalise the size of the draft Fifth Five Year Plan. An outlay  of Rs.37,250 crores had been envisaged for the public sector in the draft Plan; this has now  been revised upwards to Rs.39,303 crores. The revised outlay will mean a substantial step-up in public sector investment in the last two years of the Plan, the allocation for the next  two years being Rs.19,902 crores as against the estimated outlay of Rs.19,401 crores during the  first three  years of the Plan. Though priorities have been suitably adjusted to emphasize the concept of social justice, the broad objectives as contained in the draft Plan have been reiterated in the final document

Meghalaya's Fifth Plan 5. The size of Meghalaya's Fifth Plan has now  been fixed at Rs.89.53 crores as against the outlay of Rs.84.21 crores indicated earlier. The allocation is subject to further revision, however, depending on the actual requirements of the Kyrdemkulai Hydel Project during the next two years

Annual Plan 1977-78

6. The State's Annual Plan for the year 1977-78 envisages an outlay of Rs.24.46 crores, including a provision of Rs.9.39 crores for the New Economic Programme. The outlay is approximately 21 percent more than that for the current year. Having regard to the need for timely completion of the Kyrdemkulai Project, 31 percent  of the outlay has been earmarked for water and power development.  Due  emphasis has been given to the agriculture and allied  sectors, the allocation for these services being 20 percent of the total outlay. The share of the transport and communications sector is 19 percent; while that of social and community services is 17 percent.

   In addition to the above outlay and the outlay on Central Sector and Centrally Sponsored schemes, an amount of Rs.197 lakhs will be available to the State for implementation of schemes sponsored by the North Eastern Council.

New Economic Programme

7. Vigorous efforts were made to ensure effective implementation of the New Economic  Programme. Despite  the difficult land tenure system prevailing in the State, the Government  have decided to have the entire State surveyed and records of right prepared. A legislation for fixation of ceiling on land is being considered. When enacted, it will be made applicable to the plains areas of the Garo Hills  districts where records of rights  are being maintained. As the Hon'ble Members are aware, this House had adopted the Urban Land (Ceiling and Regulation) Act, 1976. Pursuant to this, a survey to determine the limit of urban agglomeration in Shillong  is under consideration. Further action will be taken on completion of  the survey.

    The handloom sector has a special significance for the weaker sections of society. Production of handloom goods is being encouraged and it is expected that the output of handloom cloth will reach the level of 3.50 lakh sq. metres by the end of the current year. Efforts are being made, at the same time, to facilitate the supply of controlled cloth. At present ,158 co-operative societies are engaged in the distribution  of such  cloth. With a view to help the student community, steps were taken to ensure that essential commodities are easily and regularly available to the inmates of students hostels. Upto December, 1976, 186 hostels and lodges  were covered under this scheme. The remaining 68  hostels and lodges are expected to be brought  under the purview of the scheme in the near future. The Book Bank Scheme, also intended to benefit the student community, has been extended so far to 329 institutions in the State.

   To facilitate the flow of inter-State trade and commerce, 20 permits have been issued under the National Permit Scheme. Action is being taken on priority basis to utilise the remaining 30 permits available to the State under the scheme. The scheme for workers participation in management has been implemented in the two major public sector undertakings in the State. Three private sector undertaking shave also agreed to implement the scheme. Under the Apprenticeship Scheme, 140 seats were located by the end of December, 1976, of which 89 have been utilised so far.

   Aimed at promoting the interests of our mothers and children, the family planning programme has now been integrated totally with health, child  welfare and nutrition programmes. The emphasis is on voluntary acceptance of the programme. Another programme which is being pursued actively is that relating to planting of trees. A scheme for planting of saplings along important highways of the State has been launched. Trees are also being planted in parks, educational institutions and government buildings. As for the scheme for removal of illiteracy, it may be mentioned that 323 adult literacy  centres with an enrolment of 9835 are  functioning at present. Centres for non-formal education have also been started.

   8. I shall now indicate briefly some of the other important achievements of the past year as also the salient features of the programmes being undertaken by different departments in the next year.

Agriculture.

9. The primary objective of our programmes in  the agricultural sector is to increase the production of foodgrains and take the State towards self-sufficiency. Emphasis was laid on extending the area under high yielding varieties, and demonstrations, followed by training programmes, were organised on an extensive scale. The coverage of high yielding varieties, which stood at approximately 16,000 hectares during the current year, is proposed to be increased to 21,000 hectares during 1977-78. The aim is to achieve a foodgrains production of 1.47 lakh tonnes in 1977-78 as against  the current year's estimated production of 1.40 lakh tonnes.

   Commercial and horticultural crops were encouraged. As a result of the steps taken in this regard, the production of potato as also jute and mesta register an increase. From a level of 74,000 tonnes in 1975-76, the production of potato rose to 80,000 tonnes in 1976-77; while that of jute and mesta increased from 60,200 bales in 1975-76 to 68,000 bales in 1976-77. Steps are also being taken under the guidance of the Tea Board to plant tea bushes on an experimental basis at different location s in the State.

Irrigation

10. Development of irrigation facilities is essential for the success of many of our agricultural programmes. A high priority was, therefore, given to the work on minor irrigation projects. Two flow and five lift irrigation projects started in 1974-75 are being commissioned shortly. Plans for taking up more such schemes have been drawn up and work is being started  soon on these projects. Steps have also been taken to sink another 200 shallow tube wells by the end of March, 1977.

Soil Conservation

11. The control of shifting cultivation is one of the major  projects under the Soil Conservation programme. Despite odds, further headway was made in weaning away people from the wasteful practice of jhumming and some 600 families are expected to be benefited by the jhum control scheme during the current year. During 1977-78, another 750 families are expected to benefit from the Scheme. A project for tackling the water and soil conservation problems of the Didram Upper Catchment area in Garo Hills is being continued under the auspices of the North Eastern Councils.

Animal Husbandry.

12. Livestock development programmes not only contribute to improved standards of nutrition; they also provide avenues for gainful employment. It is only through increase in productivity, however, that these objectives can be achieved. Farms with foundation stock of exotic breeds are therefore being set up and efforts are being made to develop crossbred varieties with improved productivity. The Indo Danish Cattle Project at Upper Shillong is functioning satisfactorily and a site is being developed at Kyrdemkulai for its expansion. Six more Stockmen Centres are being established during the current year bringing the total number of such Centres to 48. Steps are also being taken for development of poultry and piggery. Facilities for health coverage have been expanded and four more Veterinary Dispensaries are being set up during the current year at Jirang, Rambrai, Mohendraganj and Williamnagar. As in previous years, a number of students were sent outside the State for undergoing specialised  courses including the B.V.Sc and the B.Sc. (Dairy) courses.

Fisheries

 13. Pisciculture is another occupation which can be taken up profitably by our cultivators for supplementing their income. To encourage its acceptance, assistance in cash and kind is being given to interested parties. Attention is being given at the same time to conservation and development of natural fisheries. Flexible dams, numbering 22, have been constructed on selected streams and exotic species of fish have been introduced. The possibility of introducing cold strain  exotic varieties, including trout, is being considered and negotiations are being conducted  with the Government of Jammu and Kashmir for supply of trout seeds and training of staff.

Forests

14.  In the State  like Meghalaya with one third of its total area under forests, scientific management of forest wealth assumes considerable importance. It is essential that new  plantations are raised in a planed manner to replace uneconomic forest areas. During 1976-77, some 760 hectares of plantation were raised and another 1,210 hectares are proposed to be covered in the next year. As the  Hon'ble  Members are aware, a legislation has been enacted to regulate felling of trees in the Shillong Municipality and Cantonment areas. A proposal to extend the provisions of this  enactment to other areas in the State is under consideration. In keeping with national policy, a separate Wild Life Wing has been created to ensure measures for preservation of wild life. The Department continued  its commercial  activities during the year. A Saw Mill-cum-Treatment Plant has bone into operation in the Garo Hills. The unit will supply treated  timber  poles to the State Electricity Board. Project report prepared by the Meghalaya  Forest Development corporation are being appraised by the Agricultural Re-finance and Development Corporation and institutional finance for implementing these projects  is likely to be forthcoming soon.

Co-operation

15. The master plan for re-organisation of the primary level co-operative societies is in its final stage of implementation. Financial assistance is being extended to the re-organised  societies and sixty-six  of these have benefited so far from such assistance. One of the difficulties faced by the co-operative movement is lack of trained personnel to take charge of societies. With the setting up of the Meghalaya Co-operative Training Institute during the current year. This problem is being overcome. So far 71  persons have been trained and a cadre of full time Secretaries has been created. The Meghalaya Co-operative Apex Bank is continuing its programme of expansion. During 1977-78 four more branches will be opened. It is also organising a separate land development section for disbursing long-term loans. The consumers co-operative movement is gradually  gaining momentum in the State. As against 57  consumer co-operative  societies in existence in 1975, 143 such societies are functioning at present. Primary housing co-operative societies numbering 14 were also organized during the current year.

Community Development

16. The Community Development Blocks continue to function as the administrative  agency for the implantation  of Rural Development programmes. An outlay of Rs.11 lakhs will be available in 1977-78 for this purpose. Nutrition programmes, including the Applied Nutrition Programme and the Special Nutrition Programme, will also be implemented through the agency of the Blocks. An additional amount of Rs.15 lakhs will be routed through the Blocks under the canalization programme for implementation of schemes relating to water supply, education, roads and other pressing needs. As regards the programme for specially backward and most backward areas, an amount of Rs.32 lakhs has been earmarked for 1977-78 as against the amount of Rs.30 lakhs expected to be utilised in 1976-77.

Powers

17. In the power sector, priority was given to work on the Kyrdemkulai Project. It is a matter of satisfaction that work on this project is proceeding according to schedule and as per present  indication, it is expected  to be commissioned by June-September, 1978. An unit of the Nangalbibra Thermal Power Station generating 2.5 MW has been commissioned recently. Under the Rural Electrification Programme, 76 villages were electrified during 1975-76 raising the number of electrified villages as on 31st March.  1976 to 261. During the current year, another 80 to 85 villages will be electrified. The State Electricity Board is continuing its investigation on the Umiam-Umtru (stage IV) and Upper Khri Project as also the Leishka Project. Investigation of micro-hydel projects in Garo Hills has also been taken up.

Mineral Development

18. Investigations for the purpose of proving mineral deposits were continued by the Directorate of Mineral Resources. Besides proceeding with detailed investigations on limestone deposits at Lumshnong and the coal field at Mawlong, the Directorate was able to complete detailed proving of coal deposits in the main block of the West Darranggiri coal field in the Nangalbibra  area  where a reserve of about 60 million tonnes has been proved. A contract  is also being entered into with the mineral Exploration Corporation  for undertaking detailed proving of limestone in the Siju area.

Industries 

19. With a view to encourage industrialists to invest in the interior areas of Meghalaya, attempts are being made to develop an additional industrial area near Barapani. It is also proposed to reconsider the package of incentives offered to industrial units in the State on the lines of facilities offered by other State Governments. The possibility of setting up a pulp-cum-paper plant for manufacture of craft paper based on pine wood is being explored by the Meghalaya Industrial Development Corporation. Besides, negotiations are under way for the setting up of Watch Assembly Unit under the scheme of expansion of the Hindustan Machine Tools Ltd. In the joint sector, a separate company, the Garo Hills Jute Mill Ltd., has been launched for implementing  the Jute Mills Project. In the small-scale sector, loans and grants-in-aid  were given as in previous years to deserving artisans and institutions. Departmental schemes for training of artisans and provision of raw materials were also continued.

Sericulture and Weaving

20. As a source of supplementary income for our rural population, sericulture  has an important role in the development of the State's  economy. While efforts to increase the production of cocoons continue, importance is also being given to the development of superior strains of silk worms. Under a scheme  sponsored by the North Eastern Council, tasar rearing has been taken up on an experimental basis in the Garampani area of Jaintia Hills. Three more Eri  Concentration Centres and three collective mulberry gardens are being set up during the current year, bringing the total number of such centres and gardens to 21 and 35 respectively During 1977-78, a scheme for establishment of three Block Plantation Centres providing employment to some 200 persons is proposed to be taken up. Scheme for training of weavers and supply of yarn are also being continued. During the coming year, 120 weavers and 140 ex-trainees are expected to benefit from the scheme for supply of yarn.

Education

21. In the sphere of education, the emphasis was on improvement of facilities available in various institutions. Teachers were encouraged to undergo refresher courses, besides attending seminars and workshops. Added impetus has been given to the teachers training programme with the establishment of the State Council of Educational Research and Training. Despite financial constraints, the pay scales of our teachers were improved. Colleges teachers were given the benefit of U.G.C.  scales of pay; while teachers of deficit schools were given revised scales of pay.

   Special care was taken to promote sports and youth welfare activities. Athletic meets and sports tournaments were organised. Arrangements were also made for coaching budding sportsmen. Art and Cultural activities were not neglected either. An Institute of Art and Culture has been started in Shillong. With a view to encourage local talent, art exhibitions, music classes and concerts are also being sponsored.

Health

22. Efforts to expand the medical infrastructure of the State continued during the year. The maternity and pediatrics blocks of Jowai Civil Hospital  are likely to be commissioned by the early part of 1977-78 while the extension to the Ganesh Das Hospital at Shillong is expected to be completed by the later part of the same year. The construction of Tura Civil Hospital at its new site is proposed to be taken up during the coming year. Under the Minimum Needs  Programme, three  Primary Health Centres are expected to be completed shortly, another four being scheduled for completion during 1977-78.  Our objective is to ensure that all the blocks are provided with Primary Health Centres  by the end of the Fifth Plan Period. Programmes for control of communicable diseases as  also for eradication of malaria and small-pox were continued. Dearth of medical and para-medical  personnel  continues to be a problem, though steps have been taken to overcome this situation in the near future.

Water Supply and Sewerage.

23. Provision of potable water continues to be accorded a high priority in our strategy of development. During the current year, the emphasis was on completion of on-going schemes. Of the 99 rural water supply scheme now under implementation, 47 covering sixty villages are being completed by March, 1977. Work on the Rs.816 lakhs-Greater Shillong Water Supply Scheme has been taken up. It may be mentioned that the Life Insurance  Corporation of  India has offered to provide funds to the tune of Rs.350  lakhs for implementation of this project. Negotiations for finalisation of the terms of the load are in progress. A master plan for  sewerage and drainage of Shillong town has been prepared and the detailed  estimates are now awaiting technical clearance of the  Government of India.

P.W.D.

24.  As the Hon'ble Members are aware, development of communications is one of the pre-requisites for rapid economic development of the State. In the past, our efforts in this direction were hampered by organizational difficulties  as also paucity of funds. Efforts are being  made therefore to re-organise and strengthen the Public Works Department. It is gratifying to note also that the next year's plan outlay for this sector has been stepped up to Rs.440 lakhs against the outlay of Rs.340 lakhs available in the current year. During 1977-78, the department expects to complete construction of 130 kms of new roads and black topping of 35 kms of existing roads. Major bridges covering 100 rms and minor bridges  covering  300 rms are also expected to be constructed. It may be of interest to note that clearance has been received recently from the Government of India in respect of the Baghmara-Maheshkhola as also the Shella-Ichamati border road projects.

Transport

25. The Meghalaya Transport Corporation, successor to the erstwhile Meghalaya State Transport Undertaking, was launched on 1st October, 1976. Employing some 900 persons, the Corporation has a fleet of 100 buses and 50  trucks. Currently  engaged in an  effort to streamline its organizational set-up, the Corporation has plans to expand its  activities. The  survey for the Ichamati-Byrnihat ropeway sponsored by the North Eastern Council has since been completed.

Tourism

26. Schemes for the promotion of tourism were continued during the year. A noteworthy development was the formation of the Meghalaya Tourism Development Corporation. It is hoped that the Corporation will avail of institutional financing facilities and take up tourism development projects on a more extensive scale than has been possible hitherto.

Border Areas Programme,

27. It is imperative that we find an early and permanent solution to the problems being faced by our people in the border areas. A review of the schemes now under operation in these areas has been initiated with this end in view. Whatever necessary, modifications will be made keeping in view the special needs of these areas. It may be mentioned here that a team of  experts from the Planning Commission visited the State in October, 1976 for an on-the-spot study of the problems of the border areas. It is hoped that the recommendations of the team, which are awaited, will enable the Government to provide a long-term solution to the problems of our border population.

Dearness Allowance.

28. Considering the hardship caused to them by the high cost of living, it has been decided to revise the rates of dearness allowance admissible to Government employees. The benefit of the revised rates of dearness allowance, which is effective  from 1st September, 1976, has been extended also to the employees of the aided educational institutions. Altogether some 20,000 employees are expected to be benefited.

29. Before I proceed to the estimates for the next year, I would like to refer briefly to the actuals for 1975-76 and the revised estimates for 1976-77.

Actuals, 1975-76

30. The year opened with a negative cash balance of Rs.182.99 lakhs. There was a total receipt of Rs.8642.79 lakhs and a total expenditure of Rs.8836.01 lakhs in that year under all accounts resulting in a deficit of Rs.193.22 lakhs. The closing balance, therefore, stood at Rs.(-)376.21 lakhs as against Rs.(-)182.99 lakhs at the end of the previous year. It should be mentioned however,  that an investment of Rs.210.50 lakhs in Government of India Treasury Bills stood to our credit at the close of the year.

Revised Estimates 1976-77

31. A total receipt of Rs.10342.21 lakhs and a total expenditure of Rs.9999.70 under all accounts are indicated in the revised estimates for the current year. There is thus a surplus of Rs.342.51 lakhs. The closing balance, therefore, will be Rs.(-)33.70 lakhs as against Rs.(-)376.21 lakhs at the end of the previous year. It may be noted that receipt of additional Central assistance amounting to Rs.527 lakhs has been assumed  in the revised estimates.

Budget Estimates, 1977-78

32. I now turn to the estimates for 1977-78. The receipt on revenue account is estimated at Rs.4262.73  lakhs including an amount of Rs.2.50 lakhs on account of revised arrangements  for  supply of liquor in Garo Hills. The estimated expenditure on revenue  account is Rs.3637.88 lakhs. The estimated receipt outside  revenue account is likely to be Rs.6861.07 lakhs including Rs.8 lakhs on account of increased contribution to the General Provident Fund; the expenditure outside revenue account is expected to be Rs.7876.54 lakhs. There is, therefore, a  surplus of Rs.624.85 lakhs on revenue account  but a deficit of Rs.1015.47 lakhs outside the revenue account. Thus, the overall deficit is likely to be Rs.390.62  lakhs and the year is expected to close with a balance of Rs.(-)424.32 lakhs.

Deficit

33. I do not  propose any additional tax measure for closing the gap . It is expected that it will be covered partially by additional  devolution from the Centre including Article 275 grants to meet the net interest  liability  of the State Government. The ways and means to cover any gap that may remain thereafter will be devised in consultation with the Planning  Commission  and the Ministry of Finance in course of the year.

34. Sir, we can look back with some degree of satisfaction on the successes achieved during the past one year; but we do not  wish to rest on our laurels. We are keenly aware of the immense task that lies ahead and the many hurdles that have to be overcome before we can achieve our cherished goal of raising the standard of living of the masses. We are also conscious of our limitations and the need to strike a balance between the ever  expanding needs of the welfare State and the constraints of our resources. Nevertheless, we are confident that, with the active co-operation of the Hon'ble Members, we will be able to forge ahead steadily and surely towards our common goal. I would, therefore, request the Hon'ble  Members to extend all help and co-operation to the Government in its noble task of eradicating poverty and building up a prosperous State and a powerful nation.,

35. With these words, Sir, I present the Budget for 1977-78 for consideration and acceptance of the House. In view of the imminent  closing of the financial year, however, I propose to move the House, in the first instance, for voting advance grants and for sanctioning advance appropriation to enable the Government to defray its expenses for the first quarter of the next financial year.

JAI HIND.


ANNEXURE

THE FINANCIAL POSITION FOR THE YEAR 1977-78 WITH CORRESPONDING 
POSITION IN THE PREVIOUS YEARS.

Rupees in Lakhs
Heads Actuals Actuals Budget Revised Budgets
1974-75 1975-76 1976-77 1976-77 1977-78
Opening Balance (-)319.50 (-)182.99 (-)112.90 (-)376.21 (-)33.70
Revenue Receipt 2954.75 3333.15 3499.79 4030.81 4262.73
Capital Receipt 483.30 233.27 422.13 536.02 542.14
Receipt under the Contingency Fund 95.52 12.81 75.00 75.00 75.00
Receipt under the Public Account 5190.18 5036.56 5701.65 5700.38 6243.93
TOTAL RECEIPT 8723.75 8642.79 9698.57 103,42.21 111,23.80
GRAND TOTAL 8404.25 8459.80 9585.67 9966.00 110,90.10
Revenue Expenditure 2502.64 2735.54 3423.60 3298.41 3637.38
Capital Expenditure   765.93 808.80 896.67 1171.16 1600.11
Expenditure under the Contingency Fund 46.18 12.68 75.00 75.00 75.00
Out going from the Public Account 5272.49 5278.99 5661.15 5455.13 6201.43

TOTAL EXPENDITURE

8587.24 8836.01 10056.42 9999.70 115,14.42
Closing Balance (-)182.99 (-)376.21 (-)470.75 (-)33.70 (-)424.32

GRAND TOTAL

8404.25 8459.80 9585.67 9966.00 110,90.10
NET RESULT :-
(a) On Revenue Account (+)452.11 (+)597.61 (+)76.19 (+)732.40 (+)624.85
(a) Outside Revenue Account (-)315.60 (-)790.83 (-)434.04 (-)389.89 (-)1015.47
(c) Net excluding the opening  Balance (+)136.51 (-)193.22 (-)357.85 (+)342.51 (-)390.62

(+) Indicates Surplus and (-) indicates Deficit.