Rajasthan annual plan cut to size, no special status

Central assistance to state reduced by Rs 3,000 crore

While the BJP leadership in the state is constantly demanding special status for Rajasthan, Union government, on the contrary, has downsized the annual financial assistance to Rajasthan by Rs 3,000 crore.

Highly placed source in state government said that Union government has slashed Rajasthan’s proposed annual plan of Rs 69,000 crore for the current financial year.

The reduction has been done at a time when Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje was trying hard to get special status for Rajasthan.

A few months back, Raje had written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on why Rajasthan should  get special status.

In the letter, Vasundhara  strongly recommended amendments in the norms of National Development Council, which decides special status for any state.

But instead of considering the request, Union government preferred to reduce annual assistance to Rajasthan. 

Citing extreme geographical and demographic conditions of Rajasthan, the top leadership in previous state governments have been constantly demanding special status for Rajasthan.

In 2008, the Congress came to power in state and the then chief minister Ashok Gehlot raised the demand several times during his tenure.

Demand ignored

But the UPA government overlooked the demand and Gehlot was not heard seriously.

BJP constantly targeted Gehlot for his failure on this front despite a Congress government at the Centre and six leaders from Rajasthan serving as cabinet ministers.

Political difficulties

The present scenario suggests that Raje may face similar political difficulties like her predecessor, despite BJP government at both state and the Centre.

Meanwhile, the new development has evoked strong reaction from Congress leaders, who are blaming strained relations of Raje with her national leaders as the main reason behind reduction of financial assistance by the Union government. 

“Financial assistance by Union government has been cut short. This money was meant for development of the state.

When state leadership cannot get its annual plan cleared from Union government how will they get special status for Rajasthan,” said Archana Sharma, Congress spokesperson.

“Be it the internal problems of BJP or any other criteria behind this reduction, people of the state are the sufferers,” the  spokesperson said.  
 
Congress leaders said that development was the main agenda of their government in Rajasthan.

Refinery, free medicines to the people, Metro rail and special status to Rajasthan were their main agendas and party had fulfilled most of them, the leaders added.

“It’s the duty of next government to carry forward the tasks and development work that previous government left incomplete due to the  change in government,” said Sharma.

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