Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal has requested the Union Government to don’t discriminate with Himachal Pradesh in allocation of funds and sanctioning of projects besides funding the schemes for the State. He claimed that Himachal Pradesh was not being provided funding on 90:10 basis as was being done in respect of other special category states. Similarly the state was not being provided enough funds for central projects especially in Railway and Road sectors. He was speaking in the meeting of Chief Ministers of northern States with Union Finance Minister at New Delhi today. Union Finance Minister presided over the meeting. Chief Minister reminded the Finance Minister about his observations in the meeting held at Chandigarh in which he had stated that with the present pace of funding, Nangal-Talwara Railway Line would take more than 60 years to complete. He also expressed his deep concern that in-spite of State Government providing budget of 37 crore and Railway providing budget of 50 crore, no headway was made on Bhanupalli-Bilaspur-Beri Railway line in 2011-12. Railway Ministry also not agreed to the request of State Government to approve extension of this Railway line to Leh in view of its strategic considerations.

Prem Kumar Dhumal also raised the issue of restoration of Industrial package which was curtailed by the Central Government. He requested the Finance Minister to assist in notifying the roads recommended by State Government as National Highways. He asked the centre to formulate a clear environmental policy for providing environmental clearances to various infrastructural developmental projects in the states.

Chief Minister said that present policy of granting environmental clearance is totally discriminatory based on case by case exercise. He said that various developmental projects of the state Government have been withheld in the ministry of environment and forest due to ad hoc and one sided conditions without any scientific backings. He requested the Union Government to restructure centrally sponsored schemes especially the flagship programmes and suggested that Union Government should allocate funds on the basis of transparent norms to each state without any incentive to exaggerate backwardness or under performance. He demanded that state Government should be allowed to prioritize the allocations of central funding as per local conditions on the pattern of Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojna for achieving the better results.

Chief Minister said that all the villages with more than 2000 population have been covered by banking services in the state and added that 89.1% of state households are ,availing banking facilities as against the national average of 58.7 %. He said that state has opened the financial literacy and credit conselling centres and rural self employment training institutes in all districts of the state. He said that service areas have been allocated in all 12 districts to various banks so as to provide banking services to remote part of the state. He told that state Govt is opening micro–branches to cater to the credit and cash needs of the villagers through business correspondents and added that payment under MGNREGA programme to the labourers is being paid through banks.

Prem Kumar Dhumal welcomed the central Government decision to introduce electronic benefit transfer scheme in all its 32 centrally sponsored schemes and told that Himachal Pradesh is foremost state in the country in terms of enrollment in Aadhar project and added that about 72%of the population has been enrolled in the scheme out of which about 62% population has already been issued Aadhar numbers and cards in the state. He told that state Government has initiated pilot projects in 4 districts of the state to utilize latest technology for achieving targets under social justice to provide various benefits electronically to the beneficiaries. He told that state has highest teledensity in the country barring the national capital Delhi and added that 90% of habitations have been provided piped drinking water in the state despite mountainous terrain and tough geographical conditions. Chief Minister Prof. Prem Kumar Dhumal criticized the union Government for withholding the funds to the state Government under total sanitation campaign and told that every gram panchayat in the state has become open defecation free five years ago. He told that state Government plans to increase both the number of crops and the extent of its coverage in the coming days and told that about 4.5 lakh kisan credit cards have been distributed to the farmers in the state. He told that state Government has achieved hundred percent success in Indira Awas Yojna and told that state Government has augmented IAY from the state budget by starting Atal Awas Yojna Scheme and further added that more than 3000 crore have been disbursed as housing loan in the state till 2012.

He stated that the state was committed to cover all households with banking services, opening of more bank branches and extending Electronic Benefit Transfers. He also assured that State Government will extent all support to banks and financial institution. He, however, desired that the Bank and Financial institutions should work together with State Government to increase the credit deposit ratio. Chief Secretary, Sudripta Roy accompanied the Chief Minister to the meeting.

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