The Telegraph
Friday , January 10 , 2014
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Demand for big bucks

Ranchi, Jan. 9: The Hemant Soren government demanded Rs 1.42 lakh crore for the state’s development for the tenure between 2015 and 2020 from the visiting team of the 14th Finance Commission (FC) chaired by Y.V. Reddy at a high-level meeting in a city hotel today.

Hemant, who came with nine cabinet colleagues, chief secretary R.S. Sharma and other senior bureaucrats, oversaw a detailed presentation of the charter of the state government demands across around 40 sectors. The demand will stand for five years, the period for which 14th FC is mandated.

Going by the quantum of funds demanded, the state government prioritised on human resource development the most, demanding Rs 23159.08 crore for the sector that is packed with activities from midday meals to universities.

Agriculture, water resources, road and railway infrastructure development, social welfare, health, law and judiciary, among the other sectors, were also important from the state’s point of view.

The demand for central grants to the tune of Rs 9139.85 crore for agriculture included agricultural research, horticulture and gene pool related activities.

Chief minister Hemant said Jharkhand should be given special attention due to its huge mineral and forest reserves. He also pressed for a mine monitoring body, which should act as an independent regulator for the sector that he claimed had been ruined by the PSUs, specially coal companies.

However, the state mandarins apparently failed to figure out Jharkhand’s potential in sports and tourism. Sports saw a demand of Rs 84.20 crore, while tourism — which is touted by almost every politician and bureaucrat as having the potential to change the face of the state — saw a request of only Rs 100 crore.

Going into specifics, and perhaps with an eye for the Lok Sabha and Assembly polls, the state has demanded funds in sure-fire people-pleasing activities — skill development of youths, 20 new ITIs in uncovered blocks, infrastructure development of anganwadis, universities and colleges and others.

Jharkhand gets grants from the Centre through many channels, the FC grant being only one of them. The other channels for funds are Planning Commission for state plans and grants from central ministries.

The FC grants comprise, on an average, around 30 per cent of the total central grants for states and Union Territories during the first three years of the ongoing 13th FC (2010-11, 2011-12 and 2012-13). Normally non-plan grants, they have three components — statutory, funds for relief on account of natural calamities and others meant for special needs and upgrade of standards.

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