NEW DELHI: The BJP-led new Assam government has inherited Rs 10,000 crore liabilities from the previous Congress regime, Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal said and sought Central assistance to tide over the crisis.
This was conveyed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi by Sonowal during a 25 minute meeting here today. Submitting a memorandum and a White Paper on the state's precarious financial condition to the Prime Minister, the Chief Minister pointed out that his government "inherited" from the previous Tarun Gogoi government "about Rs 10,000 crore committed liabilities".
Sonowal said while the state Government has been shifting focus to augment internal resources without depending on the Central government alone, the state's existing "precarious financial position" has necessitated special support from the Centre, more so during the transitional phase.
The Chief Minister said his government has been seriously trying to tap the inner strengths of the state within the limited capacity and resources to generate internal resources, attracting investments and building on the core strengths.
Sonowal said the new government was focusing on institutional reforms for improving public finance management with focus on investments in critical sectors and on large scale IT-enabled systems with 'near-zero human interface' and real time monitoring of revenue collection.
Pointing out that the time-bound action plan would bear fruits only after two-three years, the Chief Minister said in the interim period while there is a need to focus on development, the state needs about Rs 10,000 crore to honour the committed liabilities accumulated over a period of time and other liabilities arising out of pay revision of employees.
Following the Chief Minister's request, the Prime Minister assured all help and support to the new government to bring turnaround in the economy of the state, an official release said.
Sonowal later met Finance Minister Arun Jaitely and sought financial assistance from the Centre to overcome the crisis in Assam. Earlier, the Chief Minister called on Vice President Hamid Ansari, who is also the Chairman of Rajya Sabha, and Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan.
Sources described the last two meetings as "courtesy call" by the new Chief Minister, who took charge on May 24. Before moving to the state, Sonowal was the Union Minister for Sports and Youth Affairs and a Lok Sabha member.