Shillong, March 24: Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma on Friday stated that the appointment of consultants is mandatory for the implementation of various externally aided projects (EAPs) and activities of different ministries in the state.
When asked about the government’s need to engage and spend huge amounts on over 161 consultants, Sangma said, “The different ministries from the Government of India, such as PMGSY, Smart City Project, and other departments, have mandated that consultants be appointed. It is not an option; it is compulsory.”
“Even for the externally aided projects that are going on, it is mandated that there should be a consultant for different activities that are to be conducted in different departments and ministries,” he added.
He informed that the government is spending Rs 250 crore on consultants for five years, which means Rs 50 crore per year.
“Rs 250 crore may sound big, but if you divide the years, months, and the number of projects going on, it is roughly Rs 20 lakh per month being spent by each of these departments on each project,” Sangma said.
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Furthermore, the chief minister informed that consultants are being engaged for over Rs 16,000 crores of projects, as mandated by the ministries and EAPs. Of these, Rs 12,000 crore plus are EAPs, Rs 1,000 crore are smart town projects, Rs 3,000 crore for PMGSY, etc.
“It is very reasonable in terms of expenditure that is done,” he said.
Moreover, Sangma said the expenditure is coming from the EAPs and not from the government’s revenue. “It is part of the project and so also for the smart town projects and so also for the PMGSY.
“But the good part is that in most cases, we don’t touch the 5% provision (to be utilized from the total cost of the projects as in the case of EAPs) that is kept. It is much below that. So it is done in a very efficient manner,” he stated.