Raje seeks national status for Rajasthan canal project

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Jaipur/New Delhi, June 17 (IANS) Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje on Sunday asked the Central government to consider special additional budgetary support challenge to the state to meet the challenge of safe drinking water availability, while seeking national project status for the Eastern Rajasthan Canal Project (ERCP).

In her address at the 4th NITI Aayog Governing Council meeting in New Delhi, she said that the Central Water Commission has already given in-principle approval to the feasibility report of the ERCP, intended to make drinking and irrigation water available in 13 districts of the state and with national project status, its implementation would speed up.

Raje added that along with water scarcity, the quality of available water comes up as a big challenge for Rajasthan, according to an official statement released in Jaipur.

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Noting that of all fluoride-affected habitations in the country, 53 per cent are in Rajasthan, she said that in view of the state’s financial constraints, the Central government should share the cost of surface drinking water projects in fluoride-affected areas on 50-50 basis.

She also requested that land-holding limit of 2 hectares for agriculture input subsidy under the SDRF norms should be relaxed for Rajasthan because in several districts, crop production was low, even if the land holdings were big and also large tracts of agricultural lands were infertile.

She therefore sought that the SDRF norms should be suitably amended to raise the limit of land-holding to 5 hectares for agriculture input subsidy, considering these special geographical conditions.

Raje also said that 8 to 10 districts in Rajasthan were perpetually facing drought conditions, and the Central government-decided amount of agriculture input subsidy on the basis of the number of farmers, as per was 2010 records, was not adequate and amount should be given on the basis of actual number of farmers in the affected areas.

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On addressing issues in implementation of the GST regime, she proposed to form a sub-group of states in the GST Council and also sought removal of certain difficulties being faced by the traders in getting GST refunds.

Raje said that despite challenging geographical circumstances in Rajasthan, the state government launched several reforms in agriculture sector, which led to NITI Aayog ranking the state as number 3 in the Agriculture Reforms category.



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