PM Modi Chairs 8th Governing Council Meeting Of Niti Aayog

Uttarakhand CM Pushkar Singh Dhami highlights efforts being made to make Uttarakhand a leading state

The Chief Minister of Uttarakhand raised several important subjects during the 8th Governing Council meeting of NITI Aayog. Here is a summary of the key points:

Green Bonus : The Chief Minister expressed gratitude to the Prime Minister and the Central Government for their guidance and cooperation in Uttarakhand’s development. He highlighted that Uttarakhand conserves forests, wetlands, and glaciers, providing important environmental services. A study estimated the minimum monetary value of these services at Rs 95,000 crore per year. The Chief Minister requested an increase in the allocation of resources among states based on the standard of forest and ecological services. Until this system is established, he proposed providing a green bonus to Uttarakhand.

PM chairing the 8th Governing Council Meeting of NITI Aayog, in New Delhi on May 27, 2023.

Mobile Population : The Chief Minister emphasized that the standard of a stable population is typically used in centrally funded schemes. However, Uttarakhand experiences a significant influx of pilgrims and tourists throughout the year, particularly during important pilgrimage events like Char Dham and Kanwar Yatra. These visitors exceed the state’s population by five to six times, which strains the limited resources of Uttarakhand. The Chief Minister requested that this important factor be considered in the allocation of financial resources and policy-making.

Externally Aided Projects : The Chief Minister informed the meeting about 11 externally aided projects worth around Rs 19,000 crore in the pipeline. These projects have received recommendations from NITI Aayog, DEA, concerned central ministries, and in-principle consent from funding agencies. Due to the state’s limited financial resources, Uttarakhand heavily relies on externally aided projects and Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS). However, there is a ceiling imposed on Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh, which curtails the implementation of these projects. The Chief Minister urged the Prime Minister to find a suitable solution to overcome this hurdle and ensure the creation of infrastructure facilities and livelihood opportunities in the state.

Energy : The Chief Minister highlighted that the production capacity of small and micro hydropower projects (less than 25 MW) in Uttarakhand is approximately 3500 MW, but only 200 MW is being utilized. He requested that the state government be given the authority to approve and implement projects of less than 25 MW capacity. This decision would contribute to achieving the goals of Net Zero while producing clean energy, aligning with the vision of Developed India @ 2047.

River Link Project : The Chief Minister informed the meeting about the state government’s consideration of linking glacial rivers with rain-fed rivers under an ambitious River Linking Scheme. The implementation of such a project requires substantial funds, and the Chief Minister requested special financial assistance and technical cooperation from the Government of India.

Flexibility in Centrally Sponsored Schemes : The Chief Minister noted that most centrally funded schemes are designed with a one-size-fits-all approach, which may not align with the specific conditions and needs of states. He highlighted the National Agriculture Development Scheme as an example of a scheme with sufficient flexibility in guidelines, allowing states to act according to their specific needs. The Chief Minister suggested adopting a similar approach of autonomy for other centrally funded schemes to maximize the benefits for hilly states like Uttarakhand.

Industrial Promotion Policy : The Chief Minister mentioned that the Industrial Promotion Policy implemented in Uttarakhand in 2017 had expired in 2022. However, similar industrial policies are still ongoing in Jammu and Kashmir and the North-Eastern states. Considering that Uttarakhand faces similar challenges as these states due to its hilly terrain, the Chief Minister requested an extension of the Industrial Promotion Policy in Uttarakhand for the next five years.

In addition to these subjects, the Chief Minister highlighted the efforts being made to make Uttarakhand a leading state.

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