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NITI Aayog meet: Rajasthan CM seeks increase in financial aid, national project status to ERCP

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Jaipur, Aug 07: Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Sunday asked the Centre to increase the financial assistance for various centrally sponsored schemes, and sought national project status to the ambitious Eastern Rajasthan Canal Project (ERCP).

Speaking at the NITI Aayog's Governing Council meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi, the chief minister strongly took up the issues related to Rajasthan. Gehlot said that ERCP is an ambitious project worth Rs 37,000 crore, which will provide irrigation facility to about an area of two lakh hectares in 13 districts of eastern Rajasthan.

NITI Aayog meet: Rajasthan CM seeks increase in financial aid, national project status to ERCP

He said that the project will also help solve the problem of drinking water in these districts. The chief minister said the prime minister had earlier promised to adopt a positive attitude regarding this project and asserted that this project would also help in the successful implementation of Jal Jeevan Mission.

Gehlot said that due to the changes made in the economic participation pattern of various centrally sponsored schemes, additional financial burden is being placed on the states. He demanded from the Centre to extend the period of GST compensation by five years to June, 2027, and to release the arrears of GST compensation amount of about Rs 3,780 crore to Rajasthan in a lump sum from 2017-18.

Gehlot said that on the lines of Chief Minister Chiranjeevi Swasthya Bima Yojna, the Centre should also increase the scope of 'Ayushman Bharat Health Insurance Scheme'. In the chief ministers' meeting, Gehlot drew the attention of the prime minister towards his goal of doubling the income of farmers and said that the monthly income of farmer families in 2018-19 was estimated at about Rs 10,218 by the National Sample Survey Organization (NSSO).

Now, keeping in mind the rate of inflation, this income should be around Rs 21,600 per month, he said. In order to increase the income of the farmers, the chief minister has demanded a substantial hike in the budget of MGNREGA scheme, and sought an increase in the amount given to the farming families under 'Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana' to Rs 2,000 per month. Giving information about the unprecedented progress being made in the field of education in Rajasthan, the chief minister claimed that Rajasthan has the highest number of 89 universities in the country, out of which three are women's universities.

He said that Rajasthan ranks first in the performance grading index of schools. Gehlot has demanded the implementation of the 'Bal Gopal' scheme at the national level to provide milk to children two days a week through mid-day meal scheme in Rajasthan, as well as to include children from classes 9 to 12 under the right to education (RTE).

The chief minister also demanded special grant to the colleges opened in the scheduled areas of the state, like in the North-Eastern states and to open a global university in the state. In the meeting, Gehlot demanded implementation of the recommendation of the 15th Finance Commission to give central assistance of Rs 400 crore for Digital University in Rajasthan. He said that the state government is also ready to spend Rs 200 crore for setting up the digital fintech university to be opened in Jodhpur. Rajasthan Chief Secretary Usha Sharma was also present in the meeting.

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