RTE: State wants 100% central aid

Expenditure

Demands financial assistance for Desert Development Programme be hiked to 90%

The state government has sought bigger financial assistance from the Centre for irrigation benefit of the Narmada project and for fulfilling the responsibilities of the Right to Education Act and the Right to Food.

This was conveyed by state Finance Minister Nitin Patel to his central counterpart P Chidambaram at a pre-budget meeting convened by the latter to obtain ideas and suggestions from state governments, said a release issued by the state's Resident Commissioner in New Delhi Wednesday.

The release said that as per Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme (AIBP) guidelines, the Centre provides financial assistance to the tune of 90% for the Drought Prone Area Programme (DPAP) areas and 25% for the Desert Development Programme (DDP) areas. Patel has demanded that the issue should be settled by extending 90% assistance for DDP areas.

The release said the revised cost of the Sardar Sarovar Dam project and its associated canal system of Rs 39,240 crores has been approved by the Planning Commission and with the completion of the project, additional irrigation potential to the extent of 12.96 lakh hectares would be created in drought prone desert areas.

"Under the Right to Education Act, in Gujarat, it is estimated that an amount of Rs 6,333 crore is required to fulfil the responsibilities arising from the Act. With an annual recurring expenditure of Rs1,300 crore, the central government should fully fund this additional expenditure and not to put additional burden on the state exchequer. Similarly, under the Right to Food Act, adequate provision should be made in the Union Budget to enable states to bear the additional burden of food subsidy," the releases added.

The state has also sought waiver of Customs Duty on ships being imported for breaking.

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