Tribune News Service
Dehradun, June 8
Chief Minister Harish Rawat met Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in New Delhi today and requested him to provide all facilities to Uttarakhand as given to a special category state. He demanded immediate release of Rs 500 crore for Ardh Kumbh preparations.
The Chief Minister told Jaitley that the Union government had not released funds on the recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission even for some state-specific needs.
He said Rs 140 crore was required for five nursing colleges, tourism development, police stations, sewerage in Dehradun and a new Vidhan Sabha building in the state.
Rawat said keeping in view the paucity of revenue, fiscal sustainability and need of the special category state, the old dispensation with regard to plan assistance for other Central government schemes should be retained at the 90:10 basis to compensate the state losses from the flexi fund of NITI Aayog.
He argued that the increase in the share of the state in central taxes by way of increased devolution was only about Rs 1,315 crore while reduction by way of ending the Normal Central Assistance (NCA), the Special Central assistance (SCA) and the Special plan Assistance (SPA) at the 2014-15 level was about Rs 2,550 crore. Assuming a normal growth of 10 per cent in these assistance, the state would have received Rs 2,800 crore in 2015-16. Thus, Uttarakhand would have to bear a net loss of Rs 1,486 crore in 2015-16 at the 2013-14 and 2014-15 levels.
He said the non-plan revenue gap of the special category states assessed on the basis of norms relevant in their case after taking into account their share in central taxes should be met out of the finance commission grants.
Rawat pleaded with Jaitley that the Centre should take the responsibility of developing infrastructure of vital importance to the region and requiring large investments and the system of plan assistance for the special category states should be reviewed.
The Chief Minister said, “Uttarakhand was hit by the natural calamity and due to which the tourist inflow in the state dwindled. As more than 25 per cent of the state economy is based on tourism, the natural disaster adversely affected the revenue of the state government. There was considerable reduction in the consumption level, affecting revenue realisation on VAT, state excise duty, vehicle tax, hotel tax etc. Due to ending of the SPA, many ongoing projects financed through it in importance departments such as higher education, technical education, school education, medical education, PWD, sports etc have been put on hold and shifting them to the state sector will require huge resources of the state government which given the precarious financial condition of the state.”
He said the state was unable to bear the cost and the future of these projects was uncertain. The Union government would provide residual financial resources for completing these projects. Jaitely assured him that the recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission would be considered positively and funds for the Ardh Kumbh to be held next year would be released at the earliest.
CM seeks funds for SC scholarship scheme
Chief Minister Harish Rawat on Monday met Union Social Justice Minister Thaawar Chand Gehlot in New Delhi and requested him to release funds for scholarships of SC students.
Rawat apprised Gehlot that for promoting higher education among Scheduled Caste students, state government had started the Dashmottar scholarship scheme, which is fully funded by the Centre. The Centre allocates funds for the scheme according to the proposal sent by state government. Rawat said last year the state government had demanded Rs 58.46 crore under the Dashmottar scholarship scheme for the financial year 2014-15 but the Union government allocated only Rs 18 crore. The Chief Minister said the issue of the remaining funds had been taken up at various meetings of Union Social Justice Ministry but to no avail.
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