Chief Minister Conrad Sangma has raised the issue of financial crunch in the district council, even as he mentioned that the monthly expenditure of the Garo Hills Autonomous District council is around Rs 10-12 crore while their revenue Generation is less than Rs 2 crore.
Speaking at the inaugural function the Outreach and Familiarization programme for Local Bodies of Meghalaya and the other North-Eastern States organized by the Parliamentary Research & Training Institute of Democracies (PRIDE), Lok Sabha Secretariat and the District Council Affairs, Government of Meghalaya..
Quoting Article 280, Chief Minister Conrad Sangma said that the provision for funding is included for Panchayati Raj, Municipal bodies, however, district councils are not included.
“The biggest hurdles District Councils face today is the issue of funds and funding. In Article 280, Panchayati Raj, Municipality Board has provision for funding but District Councils do not receive funds through the Finance Commission devolution”.
Stating the example of the GHADC, the Chief Minister stressed that the Garo Hills Autonomous District Council’s expenditure is more than the revenue it generates and this is because ADCs do not get much support from Govt of India and the Finance Commission.
“In GHADC the monthly expenditure is around Rs 10-12 cr while their revenue is less than Rs 2 cr, and from the finance commission not much support is given which should have been given and if you see it seems the District councils are failing , but if financial support is not provided , if financial inclusion is not there then the work that they wanted to do will not yield success,” The CM said.
“My first agenda and I want to pull your focus on the need to make amendments in the finance commission, district councils should get inclusion. district councils should get funding under the finance commission devolution under Article 280,” sangma said while pointing out if the District councils are not getting the financial support and without financial inclusion, the performance of their duties is hampered”.
The Chief Minister suggested the inclusion of Khasi and Garo language in the Eighth Schedule by saying, “We have taken up the resolution in the Assembly for the inclusion of Khasi and Garo language in the Eight Schedule. To assure our people and the tribal people of the North East that they are given the same importance, the recognition of our languages is very important. And not just for Meghalaya but for all the 40 languages seeking inclusion in the Eighth Schedule. More than anything else, the integration of the country is most important and it starts from recognising our languages”.
On the inclusion of North East chapters in the national syllabus, the Chief Minister commented, “ The inclusion of chapters on the North East will play a huge role in national integration. Children from other States must learn about the culture of the North East and in doing this, we are moving forward as a country taking everyone along and leaving no one behind”.
The programme was inaugurated by Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla in presence of Meghalaya Legislative Assembly Metbah Lyngdoh, Union Minister of State for Food Processing Industries Rameshwar Teli.
The programme aimed to enhance participatory democracy through greater awareness of the procedures and processes followed by democratic institutions functioning at various levels from the grassroots to the apex level.