$100m loan for MeghalayaROOPAK GOSWAMI
|Reason to smile|
Guwahati, Feb. 21: Meghalaya’s weak economy is about to receive a shot in the arm in the form a $100 million loan from the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
Sources said on February 5, the bank cleared the concept proposal of the Meghalaya Public Resource Management Development Programme.
A fact-finding team is also slated to visit the state between April 18 and 22. The board approval is scheduled in the last week of September this year.
The project information document of the bank on the programme says it will assist the state government to improve service delivery, while keeping the state on a sustainable fiscal consolidation path.
Moreover, the programme will be aligned to the outcomes sought by the state government and the Centre and will draw heavily on the lessons learned from similar programmes elsewhere in the country.
It says Meghalaya is a special category state with a rather weak economic base, and development infrastructure and endowments in the state are rather limited. Difficult geographical terrain has meant not only water shortages, but also backwardness in agricultural, transportation, communication and others.
“Consequently, there is a strong dependency on resource transfers from the central government and a limited scope for mobilising the state’s own resources for providing and sustaining improved service delivery. Thus, the logic of the proposed programme is based on the link to help fiscal consolidation as a means to complement Central transfers and build up and maintain social service improvements in the key areas, and thereby contribute to improving social welfare and minimising human and social poverty,” it says.
Under this programme, loss-making public sector enterprises would be restructured or closed, there would be service improvements in health and education sectors, government debts would be effectively restructured and managed, public expenditure would be rationalised, among others.
The state finance department will be the executing agency for the programme, while a project steering committee, to be chaired by the commissioner of finance, will be established and will have representatives from the finance department, taxation department, school education department, health and family welfare department, social welfare department, public health engineering department and public sector undertakings.
Shillong has already been included in the North Eastern Region Capital Cities Development Investment Programme with an investment of Rs 250 crore to upgrade urban infrastructure, while three roads — Garobadha-Dalu (93km), Mawngap-Umpung (76km) and Mawshynrut-Hahim (37km) — have been selected for upgrade under the proposed Rs 403-crore North Eastern State Roads Investment Programme.