Assam Annual Plan fixed at Rs 5,011 cr

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New Delhi, Feb 4 (UNI) The Annual Plan for Assam for the year 2007-08 was finalised here today at Rs 5,011 crore, which includes special plan assistance of Rs 250 crore for identified projects in the state.

The Plan size was finalised at a meeting between Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia and Assam Chief Minister Tarun Kumar Gogoi.

Of the special assistance, Rs 20 crores will be earmarked for the development of Majuli Island. The release of funds for this will be conditional upon the state providing fully for its share of Centrally Sponsored Schemes.

Dr Ahluwalia complimented the state for improving financial health and doubling growth rate during the Tenth Plan period.

He said the state government should further step up efforts to accelerate development process and aim at bringing Assam at par with developed states of the country at the earliest.

The state was also complimented for good performance under the Bharat Nirman programme.

The Plan Panel suggested that there was need to reinvigorating efforts so that targets relating to irrigation and drinking water sectors are met.

The state governnment was advised to evolve a strategy for convergence of social sector schemes so as to maximise benefits from Centrally sponsored schemes.

In view of huge handloom sector potential, it was suggested to the state to encourage cluster approach, necessary for tapping export potential.

Briefing the Commission on the performance of the state, Mr Gogoi said the objectives of eliminating revenue deficit and reducing fiscal deficit to three per cent of the GSDP by 2005-06 have been achieved.

He informed the Commission that revenue and fiscal deficits have been transformed into surplus of Rs 2,210.42 crores and Rs 711.35 crores in 2006 and 2007 respectively.

Mr Gogoi said the state has achieved an industrial growth rate of 8.02 per cent in the Tenth Plan and efforts were being made to encourage growth of small and cottage industry during the Eleventh Plan period.

The Chief Minister stressed upon the Commission to modify the power policy so that surplus power generated through the Mega projects in the North East region should be first made available on priority to deficit states in the region before being made available to other states.

He said the government should explore the possibility of opening air links between Guwahati and Eastern countries.

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