NEW DELHI, Aug 9 – Faced with pleas for maintaining status quo, the Ministry Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) is likely to firm up a strategy on transport subsidy.
At a meeting of the Industries Ministers of North-east states convened by Minister DoNER, Paban Singh Ghatowar, as part of the wider consultation process, there was a strong plea from Assam and Meghalaya to prepare a negative list to curb misuse of the subsidy scheme. Coke was identified as one item, which should be put in the negative list.
The Industry Ministers of North-east states echoed the view expressed by the industries of the region. At a meeting hosted by Federation of Industries North Eastern Region (FINER) to felicitate the newly appointed Minister DoNER, the region’s entrepreneurs protested the proposed amendment in the Transport Subsidy Scheme (TSS).
In the backdrop of the move initiated by Department of Industrial Policy and Planning (DIPP) under the Industries and Commerce Minister to amend the TSS the meeting convened by Minister DoNER, assumes significance. The meeting was also joined by the Chief Minister of Meghalaya Dr Mukul Sangma.
Ghatowar later told this newspaper that he proposes to convene a meeting of the Chief Ministers of the North-east, soon to further discuss the issue. “The Industries Ministers of the North-east states were requested to brief their Chief Ministers and after which I propose to meet them,” he said
Assam Industries Minister, Pradyut Bordoloi underlined the need to keep the ‘fly by night’ operators out of the subsidy scheme. Industries like coke have misused the scheme, he added.
Secretary DoNER Jayati Chandra said that they wanted a feedback from the Industries Ministers on making the industrial policies more broad-based by including agro products, handlooms and handicrafts. The focus is going to be on secondary sectors because manufacturing industry has been stagnating. The thrust is on low volume, high value products, she said.
The DoNER Secretary further said that the need was to work out an efficient, transparent subsidy scheme with zero tolerance for misuse.
Industries in the North-east have been troubled ever since the DIPP proposed to reduce the transport subsidies following allegations of large-scale cheating.
Fresh proposals on the table include introduction of additional rail heads at Guwahati, Tinsukia and Dimapur on the ground that it would reduce the distance thereby resulting in curtailment of subsidy.
Meanwhile at the felicitation meeting, which was jointly organised by North East MP’s Forum, chairman R. S. Joshi called for a separate region specific five year Plan for the North-east. He also suggested that PSUs should play a vital role in the North-east.
Joshi further stressed that the North East Industrial Policy should be implemented in letter and spirit.