In a meeting with Dr. Saumitra Chaudhuri, Member Planning Commission, Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal demanded Special Central Assistance of Rs. 2500 crore against the current year level of Rs. 1000 crore to finance the proposed Rs. 3700 crore annual plan for 2012-13.
He urged the Planning Commission to translate the recommendations made in the Common Base Paper by the North-Western Himalayan States for financial allocations during the 12th Five Year Plan. The demands the Chief Minister raised were Compensation to hill States based on opportunity costs on account of the eco-services being provided by them. Liberal GOI funding for creating and upgrading strategic infrastructure in border areas on strategic considerations. Extension of period of central industrial package in all Western Himalayan States. GOI approval to proposal for imposing generation tax on hydro-power and enhancing free power royalty. Norms for cost of infrastructure development and social sector projects/schemes in hill States be enhanced on account of topographical considerations. 20 percent enhancement in the present income criteria for BPL families for hill States due to relatively higher cost of living. Special package for tourism development in hill States. Enhanced allocation for calamity relief to hill States as they are relatively more vulnerable to natural calamities.
Chief Minister requested for devolution of funds in the form of ‘Green Bonus to Himachal Pradesh for its role in environmental conservation. He urged the Planning Commission to evolve a suitable package for Himachal Pradesh during the estimation of resources for the 12th Five Year Plan till the final report of Group on Finances of Special Category States is available.
Prem Kumar Dhumal also suggested that the number of Centrally Sponsored Schemes should be reduced and the funds under the Centrally Sponsored Schemes should be transferred to the State as untied funds with the flexibility to formulate schemes as per their local requirement. Most of the Centrally Sponsored Schemes have been formulated by the Government of India on the uniform pattern and designed by ignoring the State’s specific requirement, he added.
He also requested that subsidized Heli Taxi services on the pattern of the North-Eastern States should be started in Himachal Pradesh to capture the high end tourists during the 12th Five Year Plan besides prioritization of all rail projects to develop railway infrastructure in the State for the development of tourism and overall growth of the economy in the State. He also urged for enhancing allocation for the construction and maintenance of National Highways in the State
Chief Minsiter demanded contribution from the Government of India required under the 12th Five year Plan for boosting power sector and sought intervention of the Government of India for early environmental clearances of the projects in this sector. He said that the insistence of Ministry of Environment and Forests (MOEF) on comprehensive basin wise studies for environmental clearances of hydro power projects will delay the execution of the projects and Government of India must be proactive for procedural reforms in this sector.