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Dr Rohit Sharma Highlighted Hill deprivation in budget speech

Dr Rohit Sharma
Dr. Rohit Sharma, MLA from Kurseong yesterday highlighted various forms of deprivation that hill people have to face due to inadequate and discriminatory budget allocations.

Starting his speech on the budget presented, Dr. Sharma thanked the Hon'ble Finance Minister and the Chief Minister on behalf of the hill people for allocating Rs 225 crores for GTA in the current budget.

However the MLA also pointed out that “the time allocated to me is too short - only 5 minutes... Ye to gagar me sagar bharna jaisa Hogaya. We are the marginalised group in the assembly and we are marginalized time wise as well.”

Basically, the MLA spoke on Demand no.26 which deals with the GTA. He pointed out the discrepancies that appeared in the financial statement mentioning DGAHC instead of GTA, which came into existence after the passing of d GTA Act 2012.

Dr. Sharma then drew the attention of d Hon'ble FM to section 55(3) (I) which clarifies that unspent balance at the close of the financial year shall be taken into account for the purpose of providing additional resources in the budget of the following year, and then pointed out that during 2014-15, a sum of Rs. 90 crore was allotted, but Only 68 cr. was released.

During 2015-16, 130cr. was allotted but only 42.90 cr. was released contrary to what is mentioned in the Act.

Further Dr. Sharma stated that “the budget provision for GTA under SP is based on Budget provision made by the finance department for the Hill Affairs dept. Hence I am constrained to draw your attention to the fact that budget for GTA under SP is not based on any proposal from the GTA and whatever provision is made in hill affairs becomes the ceiling limit for GTA.”

He added, “an increase in devolution of central tax shares to the states from 32% to 42% has seriously affected the ongoing projects of GTA under Hill Area Development Pland as the Central Govt has abruptly stopped SCA financing with the increase in the share of tax without keeping transitory provisions.”

Using the issue of Murmah HS school ,where students have to sit inside d class room with their umbrellas open and their shoes drenched in water. Dr. Sharma pointed out that Bengal govt had reduced Rural Infrastructure Development Funds allotment to Rs 20 crore, as compared to Rs 48 crores last year. He stated, “Such curtailment of RIDF fund would further aggravate the already grim situation.”

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