Centre does not provide any special financial assistance scheme for Himalayan states at present, Parliament was informed today.
Financial assistance was provided to different states, including the Himalayan states from various heads and schemes like Special Plan Assistance (SPA), Special Central Assistance (SCA) and the like by the erstwhile Planning Commission for their overall development, Minister of State for Planning Rao Inderjit Singh said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha.
As per the 14th Finance Commission recommendations, the states’ share in central tax increased to 42 per cent from 32 per cent with effect from 2015-16, he added.
Accordingly, the discretionary grants were discouraged due to which schemes such as SPA, SCA, etc that were earlier a component of Central Assistance to State Plans (CASP) have not been provided since the Union Budget 2015-16, Singh said.
“There does not exist any scheme exclusively called special financial assistance to Himalayan states,” the minister informed the House.
On developmental issues in hilly states, he said a panel constituted under Planning Commission Member B K Chaturvedi in November 2013 suggested that 2 per cent of gross budgetary support (GBS) be earmarked for the balance period of 12th Five Year Plan for compensation for such states.
The compensation would be on account of their (Himalayan and North-Eastern states) contribution of environmental services to the rest of the nation and in recognition of their special disabilities, he added.
After the Niti Aayog was formed, a sub-group of chief ministers was constituted in March 2015 to rationalise centrally sponsored schemes (CSS).
The group recommended 90:10 (the Centre and states) fund sharing pattern for core schemes for the North Eastern and Himalayan states compared with 60:40 in other states, Singh said.
“The sub-group has also recommended that the states may be allowed to decide construction cost norms on the basis of scheduled rates applicable in the states concerned,” he said.