BJP-led Centre underutilises budget for NE: Cong

NEW DELHI, 13 Apr: The Congress on Saturday accused the Centre of underutilising the budget for the Northeast, and said that the Congress is the only political party that can deliver justice to the states in the region.

“The Modi government’s ‘bluff and rule’ policy continues to unravel. The Modi government has a history of allocating big budgets to the Northeast and then chronically underutilising these budgets in the last 10 years,” Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said in a post on X.

He said that since 2014, the government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has utilised the full budget for the Northeast only on two occasions.

“While the UPA consistently utilised around 90 percent of the budget, the Modi government’s utilisation falls to a mere 60 percent regularly.

“In FY23, the budget was Rs 2,755 crore. However, in June 2023, a report from the controller general of accounts (CGA) revealed that the ministry utilised only Rs 989 crore (35.9 percent) of its allocated budget,” the former union minister said.

In 2020-21, the fund utilisation in the case of the Northeast road sector development scheme was 52 percent, Ramesh claimed, adding that for the Northeast special infrastructure development scheme, only 34 percent of the funds were utilised.

The Congress leader said that the Modi government boasts that the PM-DevINE scheme launched in 2022 outlays Rs 6,600 crore for the period from 2022-23 to 2025-26 for the holistic development of the Northeastern region.

He said that on 7 December, 2023, the DoNER ministry informed the Rajya Sabha that only over 10 percent of the funds (Rs 855.85 crore) under the Prime Minister’s Development Initiative for Northeast Region (PM-DevINE) were sanctioned.

 “In January 2023, in the run-up to elections in Meghalaya, Nagaland and Tripura, the Modi government ‘doubled’ the budget for the DoNER ministry. Given its history of bluffing with its big fund allocations and dramatic underutilisation, we await the details of how much in funds has actually reached the Northeast.

“@INCIndia is the only political party that can deliver justice to the states of Northeast India,” Ramesh said, using the hashtag “#HaathBadlegaHalaat”. (PTI)