‘Bluff and rule policy’: Modi Govt’s north east budget underutilised over decade, says Congress

Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi with country's finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman. [File Photo]

The Congress has criticised the BJP-led government of India for consistently underutilising budget allocations for the north east, asserting that it is the sole party capable of addressing the region’s needs.

Jairam Ramesh, Congress general secretary, lambasted the Modi government’s “Bluff and Rule” approach, highlighting a pattern of large budget allocations to the North East that have been significantly underutilised over the past decade.

“The Modi government’s ‘Bluff and Rule’ policy continues to unravel. The Modi government has a history of allocating big budgets to the North East and then chronically underutilising these budgets in the last 10 years,” Ramesh said in a post on X.

Ramesh noted that since 2014, the Modi government has only fully utilised the northeastern budget twice, contrasting this with the UPA’s consistent 90% utilisation rate. He cited a report from the Controller General of Accounts (CGA) in June 2023, revealing that the allocated budget of Rs 2,755 crore for FY23 saw only Rs 989 crore (35.9%) utilised.

In specific schemes like the North East Road Sector Development and the North East Special Infrastructure Development, Ramesh claimed that fund utilization rates were at 52% and 34%, respectively, in 2020-21.

Regarding the PM-DevINE scheme launched in 2022 with an outlay of Rs 6,600 crore, Ramesh criticized the slow disbursement of funds, citing that only over 10% (Rs 855.85 crore) had been sanctioned by December 2023.

Ramesh highlighted a perceived election-related budget increase for the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region in January 2023, cautioning against the Modi government’s track record of making grand fund allocations with minimal actual delivery to the North East.

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