Home Uncategorized CM raises demand for more central assistance in Niti Ayog meeting chaired by PM Modi

CM raises demand for more central assistance in Niti Ayog meeting chaired by PM Modi

Dhami demands Green bonus from Centre to compensate U’khand for environment services

By Our Staff Reporter
New Delhi, 27 May: Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami today participated in the 8th Governing Council meeting of NITI Aayog held here under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Expressing gratitude to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Union Government for the guidance and cooperation in the development of Uttarakhand, the Chief Minister raised various demands and issues related to the state during the meeting.

Green Bonus:
Raising the issue of Green Bonus, the Chief Minister said that Uttarakhand is providing important environmental services to the entire nation by conserving forests, wetlands and glaciers in about 70 percent of the state’s area. According to a study by IIFM, Bhopal, the minimum monetary value of these services derived from the forests of Uttarakhand is Rs 95,000 crore per annum. The CM urged the Niti Ayog to create adequate norms regarding the forest and ecological services which should be included while allocating resources among the states in future. The Chief Minister said that until this system comes into existence, green bonus should be provided to the state of Uttarakhand.

Floating population:
Dhami further pointed out that most of the centrally funded schemes, consider the permanent resident population as the criteria for allocation of funds and grains etc. However in states like Uttarakhand, a huge number of pilgrims and tourists visit Uttarakhand throughout the year in important pilgrimage places, especially Char Dham and Kanwar Yatra, which is roughly at least five to six times the resident population of the state. Pilgrims and tourists also have to use the basic facilities of the state like parking, traffic, drinking water, sanitation, accommodation, transport, public security etc. At present, the state has to provide these facilities from its limited resources of the state. He requested to include this important fact related to floating population in allocation of financial resources and policy making.

Externally Aided Projects:
Dhami reminded that 11 externally aided projects worth about Rs 19,000 crore were in the pipeline. Recommendations from NITI Aayog, DEA, Union Ministries concerned and in-principle consent from funding agencies have been received on these project proposals. The financial resources of the state are very limited due to which the state has its major dependence on EAP and CSS only. According to an order of the Ministry of Finance, ceiling has been installed in this for Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh. Due to curtailment of these projects, the creation of infrastructure facilities and livelihood opportunities in the state will be hampered. He requested the Prime Minister to get a proper solution for this.

Energy Projects:
The Chief Minister said that the production capacity of small and micro hydropower projects of less than 25 MW capacity in Uttarakhand  is about 3500 MW. Out of this only 200 MW is being exploited currently. He requested that the state government should be given the right to approve and implement projects of less than 25 MW capacity without seeking approval of the Centre or its agencies. With this decision, the state will be able to help in achieving the goals of Net Zero while producing clean energy under the vision of Developed India @ 2047 by utilizing the power capacity of about 3000 MW soon.

River Link Project:
The Chief Minister said that under the ambitious River Linking Scheme, the state government is considering linking some glacial rivers with rain-fed rivers. For the implementation of such an important “river-linking project”, huge funds are required, for this, Government of India should approve and provide special financial assistance and technical cooperation to the state.

Flexibility in Centrally Sponsored Schemes:
The Chief Minister said that most of the centrally funded schemes are made on the basis of ‘One size fits all’, whereas geographical facts and specific conditions and needs of each state may be very different from other states. Some Central states already recognise this fact and schemes like the National Agriculture Development Scheme, already have enough flexibility in the guidelines. Due to this, there is autonomy to act according to the specific needs of the state. Same kind of autonomy and process should be adopted for other centrally funded schemes as well so that hill states like Uttarakhand can get maximum benefits of centrally funded schemes.

Industrial Promotion Policy:
The Chief Minister said that the incentives received under the Industrial Promotion Policy implemented in the state in the year 2017  ended in the year 2022, while other similar industrial policies for Jammu and Kashmir and North-Eastern states are still continuing. Being a hill state, Uttarakahnd’s problems are also similar to those of states like NE and J&K. Dhami urged the Union Government to extend the Industrial Promotion Policy in the state of Uttarakhand also for the next 5 years.
The CM briefed the meeting that in order to make India a developed nation by the year 2047, work has started at a fast pace on the basis of the concept of ‘Strong Uttarakhand @ 25’, aiming to make Uttarakhand the leading state of the country. He said that State Institute for Empowering and Transforming Uttarakhand (SETU) has been set up by the state government on the lines of NITI Aayog of the Government of India. The Uttarakhand Investment and Infrastructure Development Board has been established to create infrastructure facilities on the lines of Gujarat’s GIDB so that domestic and international investors can be attracted to the state.

‘Springs and Rivers Rejuvenation Authority’ is being formed to promote water conservation, help in flood control and ensure balance of economy and ecology in all development works. With this, tourism will be promoted at the local level and water-based employment opportunities will also be created. Unified Metropolitan Transport Authority (UMTA) has been constituted for urban multi-modal transport facility.

Dhami said that under the guidance of the Prime Minister, the resolution of the reconstruction of Badri-Kedar Dham is going to be realised soon. For this, he also thanked the Prime Minister on behalf of the state. The Chief Minister said that the Manaskhand Mandir Mala Mission has been launched to connect the major mythological temples and gurudwaras mentioned in Skanda Purana in the Kumaon region in the form of a circuit. The project is expected to provide direct and indirect employment to about 50,000 families at the local level. In the first phase, infrastructure development of 16 temples is being done.
The CM also stated that maximum use of IT is being made in the state under the concept of “minimum government, maximum governance”. About 70 percent of the services are available online on Apni Sarkar Portal. Under ‘Apano School Apnao Praman’, all the certificates are being issued to the students in the school itself. With a view to generate employment, 18,000 poly houses were sanctioned at one go whereas in previous years, about 500 poly houses were sanctioned every year. More than one lakh jobs will be created directly and indirectly in the next two years. An investment of about Rs 40 thousand crore is possible under the Tourism Policy 2023, due to which a large number of jobs will be created. The Chief Minister’s Skill Upgradation and Global Employment Scheme has been introduced to provide attractive employment opportunities abroad. 58 heliports and helipads have been constructed for easy movement at tourist places and 29 heliports and helipads are under construction. A ‘Drone Usage and Promotion Policy’ is being brought in to manufacture different types of drones at the local level and to monitor essential services and development works in remote areas. At present 250 farmers of seven districts are being given drone training. To make women more empowered in the state, a target of 1.25 lakh Lakhpati Didi has been set by 2025 and 33,158 families have been prepared as Lakhpati Didi.