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Pranab to meet finance ministers from northeast

Agartala, June 3 - Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee will meet the finance ministers of northeastern states here Tuesday to discuss fiscal, infrastructural and investment problems of the region.

Tripura Finance Minister Badal Choudhury told reporters: "The proposed meeting would discuss about the fiscal problem of the eight northeastern states. It would also discuss about the lack of adequate infrastructure and required private and government investment."

He said: "(Manipur) Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh had requested the union finance minister to call a meeting of northeast finance ministers to discuss the growing fiscal, infrastructural and investment problems of this region."

Due to lack of adequate infrastructure, including roads, the growth of the mountainous region becomes stagnant, he said.

The northeastern states, during the state finance ministers' pre-budget meeting with Mukherjee in New Delhi in January, had demanded a special "connectivity and communication package" to attract investment and boost tourism and industrial development in the region.

"The centre must announce a connectivity and communication package for the northeastern states, without which there will be little possibility of industrialisation and investment to this industry-starved region," said Choudhury.

The Communist Party of India-Marxist led Left Front government in Tripura has been demanding a financial package of Rs.13,600 crore from the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government to overcome the severe financial crisis in the state in view of the "erroneous recommendations of the 13th Finance Commission".

Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar along with state finance minister Badal Choudhury had met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi recently and submitted a proposal for a Rs.13,600 crore financial package from the central government to tide over the fiscal crisis facing the Left-ruled state.

Tripura has sought around Rs.27,000 crore from the central government but the 13th Finance Commission had recommended the sanctioning of Rs.16,350 crore in 2009. Its report was accepted by the central government in 2010.



-IANS


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