Ashok Gehlot accuses Centre of withholding funds under devolution scheme


Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot has accused the Centre of withholding funds under the Finance Commission recommended devolution scheme and urged the Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to take up the matter. “Despite constant correspondence..., the state is not being given its due share...41%. We are not getting more than 30%,” Gehlot told the state assembly on Thursday while replying to the debate on the Budget presented last month. He said the Centre has reduced the share for schemes from 60% to 50% and increased the financial burden on states.

Gehlot said the Centre has also reduced the subsidy to states for food, minimum support price for crops, fertilisers, crop insurance, and Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme.

He proposed to send an all-party delegation to New Delhi for national project status to the Eastern Rajasthan Canal Project to address water scarcity. “Rajasthan has given 25 MPs [members of Parliament] to BJP... Jal Shakti minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat is also from Jodhpur but seems the Centre is not serious. The leader of Opposition [Gulab Chand Kataria] should take lead and we should go jointly to Delhi and get [this] status.” Gehlot said Prime Minister Narendra Modi promised the status but was not fulfilling it. Gehlot announced the formation of a committee to look into the formation of new districts. He added the panel will submit its report within six months.

Gehlot referred to the Budget announcement on reviving the old pension scheme from the next financial year for the state government employees appointed since 2004. It added it has received an overwhelming response from across the country. Gehlot said government employees in states such as Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, and Madhya Pradesh have made similar demands.

Gehlot said the state government has never taken an overdraft and all promises made in the Budget will be fulfilled. “The Opposition is misleading the public. Our government has implemented 85% of the last Budget promises and 75% of that in the [Congress] manifesto. The Budget has been appreciated across the country.” Kataria said the Budget implementation seems impossible given the state’s economic situation. “How will the revenue come...? The revenue deficit continuously increased under the Gehlot government. Revenue receipts were reported more than the actual figures. The actual estimate of ₹2.14 lakh crore is beyond reality. The Budget is just eyewash and nothing can materialise on the ground other than foundation laying ceremonies of the projects.”

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