By ARUN PRATAP SINGH
DEHRADUN, 11 Aug: Following the financial crunch due to the Corona pandemic, the state is looking for ways to obtain additional credit from the Centre. On Tuesday, a meeting was held at the Secretariat under the chairmanship of Chief Secretary Om Prakash to discuss ways to get additional credit facility from the Centre. It was stated at the meeting that additional credit facility could be availed at 2 percent of the total GSDP of the state by improving performance in four areas prescribed by the Ministry of Finance, Government of India. In the context of Uttarakhand, this facility would be equivalent to about Rs 4600 crore.
To obtain this facility, the state would have to undertake district level business reforms under the Ease of Doing Business initiative; make the process of renewal transparent or abolish the requirement of renewal; implement the One Nation One Ration Card; and undertake reforms related to strengthening Urban Bodies as well as the Power Sector. These reforms would have to undertaken mandatorily by December 2020.Only on the basis of these reforms would the state become eligible to get the benefit of taking an additional loan of 2 percent of GSDP.
Chief Secretary Om Prakash instructed all departments to make concrete action plans to complete the reforms related to their departments within the stipulated time and continuously review the progress. He added that the Chief Secretary’s office also be updated every week regarding the progress in this regard. Instructions were given by the Chief Secretary to accelerate the work on the One Nation One Ration Card Scheme. It was disclosed that, so far, about 85 percent of ration cards had been bio-metered. Om Prakash directed the officials to prepare an action plan to complete the remaining work in ten weeks and directed the Food Department to take Rs 25 lakh from the contingency fund to complete this work. The Chief Secretary said that although the digitisation work of all the Fair Price Shops had been completed, if some of the Fair Price Shops had been left out, this also had to be completed at the earliest.
Om Prakash stressed that the revenue department ought to explore possibilities of using artificial intelligence in the digitisation of land records and the cooperation of NIC be taken for this purpose. All departments needed to monitor the reforms at their level and inform the Chief Secretary’s Office and Additional Chief Secretary, Micro Small Medium Enterprises, about the progress in this regard. The Chief Secretary set a deadline of 31 October, 2020, for all departments and directed that the compliance be completed and sent to the Government of India within the time limit as per the standards, so that the additional credit could be obtained by the state.
In the meeting, Additional Chief Secretary Manisha Panwar directed that all the departmental heads complete the reform process within the stipulated time in order to enable the state to seek the additional credit. Principal Secretary AnandVardhan, Secretary, Urban Development, Shailesh Bagoli, Secretary, Finance, Saujanya, Secretary Harvansh Singh Chugh, Secretary Dr Pankaj Pandey, Additional Secretary, Tourism, Sonika, Additional Secretary Meherban Singh Bisht, Director, Industries, Sudhir Nautiyal were present.