Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Rs. 8200 crore has been sanctioned for Uttarakhand's Annual Plan

Rs. 8200 crore has been sanctioned for Uttarakhand's Annual Plan 2012-13 including Rs. 700 crore as Special Central Assistance and Rs. 800 crore as Special Planning Assistance. The sanctioned Rs. 8200 crore for the current financial year is Rs. 400 crore more than the previous Annual Plan. Out of the total outlay, 56.25 percent has been proposed under economic services and 43.81 percent under social services. Emphasis would be laid on infrastructure development.
The decision to this effect was taken in a meeting of Planning Commission held in the presence of its Vice Chairman Dr. Montek Singh Ahluwalia and attended by Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna at Yojna Bhawan, New Delhi, on Monday.
On the objection raised by the Planning Commission about less expenditure of the allocated outlay in past years, Mr. Bahuguna said that the present government had constantly improved the spending capacity and to ensure better spending of Plan Funds, it had recently empanelled CPWD and four Central Public Sector Undertakings for taking up infrastructure work in Uttarakhand. Minister Bahuguna said that the 12th Five Year Plan of the State would embark on sustaining the growth momentum of the previous two Five Year Plans, employment generation and balanced economic growth to attain the overall objective of faster and sustainable inclusive growth as set out in the national approach paper for the Twelfth Five Year Plan. A target of 11 percent Annual Growth Rate has been fixed. However, he said that in view of the current economic conditions, a course correction might be required. He said that though overall plan size seemed to be good but the State felt handicapped as about 58 percent of total outlay was resource tied.
Mr. Bahuguna underlining the extreme resource crunch being faced by the State said that salary expenditure has increased due to filling up of posts of doctors, paramedics, teachers and other essential services departments. He said that in case of doctors, special enhanced salaries had to be paid to motivate them to go to the distant areas. He said that the 13th Finance Commission scrapped non-plan revenue deficit grant. Mr. Bahuguna said that the expenditure incurred so far on the banned hydro projects had gone to waste and future revenue prospects had been stopped. Therefore, he said, there was need to calculate the monetary value of the loss in revenue due to power capacity lost and then compensate the State. He rued that several identified hydro-power projects had been stalled due to protest by some religious groups and environmentalists. "China has shown the political will to construct 4 dam projects of 40,000 MW on river Jinsha," he said and added that in a democratic system though pioneer efforts were bound to be controversial but legitimacy of such epochal decision  must be people centric.
Chief Minister Bahuguna stating that due to 65 percent forest area and provision of Forest Conservation Act, many development projects got delayed and unnecessarily resulted in cost over run and required extra funds. He asserted that a time limit had to be fixed for grant of forest clearance. Mr. Bahuguna pointed out that based on scientific assessment Uttarakhand was providing eco system services worth Rs. 40,000 crore to the nation without any compensation for its sacrifices and disabilities suffered on this count. "It is imperative at the national level to develop a green index," he said adding that the Green Deficit States must pay for such invaluable services.
Mr. Bahuguna revealing the difficulties exiting in border areas said that the State had 625 km long international border with China and Nepal. He said that owing to lack of infrastructure deficit the people from those areas were migrating to plain areas which were also proved by the State Census 2011. "Intelligence inputs also suggested for strengthening of connectivity mainly roads and communication and social-economic development of these areas," he said and urged the Centre to consider to take up development of these areas under Central scheme in view of very high cost of construction and time involved.
 Chief Minister Bahuguna said that Uttarakhand though being special category State, the funding in about 38 schemes were provided in a ratio less then 90:10. Stating that Centre levied direct education cess for funding of education and State had no alternative sources, he said that relaxation, like being provided to North-East states be extended also to all special category states.
Mr. Bahuguna also urged the Centre for a Special Package for Nanda Devi Raj Jat scheduled to take place in August-September 2013. He also requested to revisit and restore Concessional Industrial Package (CIP) (which was prematurely curtailed in March 2010) for next 10 years. "During the concessional period our industrial growth was 18 percent which has been reduced to below 9 percent after its withdrawal," he said.
         The meeting was also attended by Uttarakhand Planning Minister Dinesh Agarwal, Members of Planning Commission Soumitra Choudhury, BK Chaturvedi, Dr. Sayeeda Hamid, Dr. Narendra Jadhav, Dr. K Kasturirangan and Uttarakhand Chief Secretary Alok Kumar Jain.

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