Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has slammed the PM Narendra Modi-led Union government for failing to give the states their due share in Central taxes from the GST revenues . 

In his reply to the Rajasthan Finance and Appropriation Bill in the state Vidhan Sabha, he said by reducing the states’ share in Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS), the Union  was causing them great financial stress.

Citing the example of his own state, Gehlot said Rajasthan was to get Rs 68,000 crore in the year 2021-22 as its share in Central taxes, but received only Rs 49,000 crore.

Gehlot also reiterated the state’s demand for funding the ambitious Eastern Rajasthan Canal Project (ERCP) by declaring it as a national project. The ERCP is slated to cater to the drinking water and irrigation needs of 13 districts of the state.

Gehlot said that while the BJP won all the 25 Lok Sabha seats in the state in 2019, the BJP MPs failed to pressurize the Union government to give the ERCP the status of a national project. He urged the opposition to lean on the Union government to do so.

ERCP is an ambitious mega project to transfer surplus water from Chambal river basin to Banas, Morel, Banganga, Kalisindh, Gambhir, and Parbati rivers sub-basin. 

In a way, it would link the 11 rivers of eastern Rajasthan. After this inter-linking of the small rivers, 13 districts of the state  Jhalawar, Baran, Kota, Bundi, Sawaimadhopur, Ajmer, Tonk, Jaipur, Dausa, Karauli, Alwar, Bharatpur, and Dholpur  will not only get drinking water but also water for irrigation.

The scheme proposes to bring two lakh hectares of new area under irrigation command. 

The ERCP will also augment the yield in 26 major and medium irrigation projects and will rejuvenate 0.80 lakh hectares of existing command areas. 

This will transform agricultural practices and thus help in bringing about a massive change in living standards of the people of eastern Rajasthan.

The Ashok Gehlot government has been trying hard to implement the project. A detailed project report crore was sent to the Centre for consideration for this purpose.

Gehlot has been urging Prime Minister Modi to grant national project status to ERCP as it would also cater to industrial units to be set up under the ambitious Japanese-aided Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC). 

A large part of DMIC comes under Rajasthan, and this canal, apart from irrigating two lakh hectares, could also cater to the needs of such industrial units.

Under this project, the canal and feeder would be spread over 1268 km, of which the gravity feeder would be spread in 965 km and the natural stream would be 158 km long.

Incidentally, the project, originally conceptualised by the Gehlot government, was subsequently taken up by the Vasundhara Raje-led BJP government which in 2017 submitted a plan to the Central Water Commission. 

But even with a BJP-led government at the Centre, the project is still awaiting for approval of the Union government.

A high-level meeting of the Jal Shakti Ministry discussed the project in its meeting in in January this year before the Union budget was presented. However lack response from Union government causing hindrances 

Congress Rajasthan Cheif Minsiter Gehlot made a Herculean effort to get support for the project from the Union budget and wrote to Prime Minister Modi to grant the project the status of a national project looking at the unique geographical condition of the state. 

Rajasthan is one of the biggest states in the country in terms of area, but a large part of it is covered under the desert.

Gehlot in his letters reminded the Prime Minister that in two public meetings that he had addressed on July 7, 2018 and October 6, 2018, he spoke about the importance of the project and promised to ensure its implementation, but nothing was done.

Gehlot during his reply to the Finance and Appropriation Bill made several big announcements. In a significant move, he announced his government’s decision to scrap the 10 percent monthly deduction from the salaries of the state government employees.

Earlier, while presenting the state budget in February, the Chief Minister, who also holds the finance portfolio, had made the historic decision to reinstate the old pension scheme for employees.

Refuting the claims of the Opposition that the budget was “ill-planned” and would lead to financial bankruptcy of the state, Gehlot said the financial security of government employees was important and it leads to improved performance and encourages the talented to opt for state government jobs.

Gehlot also announced reimbursement of fees of girl students admitted in private schools till Class VII. 

He also extended free education by allocating funds for classes 9 to 12 from Indira Mahila Shakti Nidhi.

The Chief Minister also announced a scheme to provide funds to families of disabled, widows and elderly. Under this scheme, to be called Mukhyamantri Hamari Jimmedari Yojana, these benefits would be delivered at their doorstep.

The state government will also set up an additional 5000 ration shops to enable free delivery of foodgrains to families that have elderly members or those below the age of 18 years.

Under the new welfare schemes, two days’ powder milk would be provided under the mid-day meals to poor students.

Gehlot also announced a Rs 40 crore project for modernizing madrasas in the state.

The state government would spend Rs 200 crore on setting up 100 mohalla clinics in the state.

The Chief Minister also announced a special pension scheme for sportspersons, the first such move in the country. 

Under this, all those who have won medals at Olympic, Paralympic, Asian Games and Commonwealth Games, as well as all Arjuna awardees above the age of 40, will receive a pension of Rs 20,000 per month