STATE TIMES NEWS NEW DELHI: Union Minister of the Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), Dr Jitendra Singh on Monday met Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and discussed with her budget related issues of the North Eastern States. Also present were some of the Members of Parliament from the region. It was brought to the notice of Union Finance Minister that the budget allocated for the Ministry of DoNER and the North Eastern Council(NEC) was too small to meet the requirements of the region and the multiple development projects for the States. A hike in the budget allocation for North East was needed considering the fact that the construction of various roads and bridge projects incurs much higher expenditure as compared to States in other parts of the country where the topography is not so difficult. Dr Jitendra Singh brought to the notice of Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman that the 10% budget earmarked for Nirtheast from each of the non- exempted Ministries in Government of India, was not always put to its full or optimum utilization, for a variety of reasons, even though the total North East budget from all these Ministries amounted to nearly Rs. 55,000 crore. He proposed that, in order to ensure maximum utilization of these funds, either non-utilization from these Ministries should be made available to DoNER Ministry for further dispensation or the non-utilized funds from one ministry could be re-appropriated to another ministry where these could be utilized. The Finance Minister discussed the issues in detail and said she would soon call a joint meeting of the officials of Ministry of Finance and Ministry of DoNER to work out a feasible option. She said, if there is a need to change the rules, that also will have to be discussed. Meanwhile, the different Members of Parliament placed before the Finance Minister some of the issues and development projects related to their respective constituencies. They said, they may again call on the Finance Minister after doing some documentation.
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