Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot met Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday and requested the central government to approve the proposals for several drinking water projects and the timely release of funds for the centrally-sponsored schemes.
According to an official release, Gehlot met Sitharaman to discuss various financial issues related to Rajasthan ahead of the Niti Aayog meeting.
During his meeting with Sitharaman, Gehlot said that as per the past practice the states’ share in the central taxes should be released to the respective states on the first date of the month.
Gehlot said that as this practice had been changed since the past few years, the states were facing financial issues. The states have to make payments towards salaries and pension on the first date, which becomes very difficult.
Gehlot also requested the Finance Minister that proposals for seven drinking water projects costing Rs 5,473 crore should be approved at the earliest.
He asked for approval for the proposal for external financial aid for Phase 3 of the Rajiv Gandhi Lift Canal Project costing Rs 1,450 crore. This project would provide drinking water to 2014 villages and five towns of Jodhpur, Barmer and Pali districts till the year 2051.
Gehlot also apprised Sitharaman that Rajasthan had several drinking water projects lined up with the help of the Japanese aid agency JICA.
“These proposals are pending with Union ministries of Drinking Water and Sanitation and Urban Development,” he said, adding that several villages of Jhunjhunu and Barmer districts would be benefited from these projects worth Rs 2,918 crores.
Gehlot also said that another scheme worth Rs 1,104 crore for Phase 2 of the Bisalpur project to provide drinking water to Jaipur city was also awaiting the centre’s clearance and sought Sitharaman’s support for these projects.
The Rajasthan Chief Minister asked the Union Minister to support the state’s loan waiver scheme to help the farmers of Rajasthan recover from their indebtedness.
He informed Sitharaman that 24 lakh farmers affiliated to cooperative banks had been given the benefit of loan waiver in Rajasthan and the state had to bear a burden of Rs 15,679 crore for it.
The state also planned to waive off crop loans from nationalised banks, scheduled commercial banks and rural regional banks up to Rs 2 lakh per farmer, Gehlot added.
As these financial institutions are under the control of the Finance Minister, the Centre should help the state in having a one-time settlement with the banks for loan waiver, he demanded.