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regular-article-logo Monday, 22 July 2024

States seek tweak in loan scheme from Modi government

During a pre-budget meeting with finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, state finance ministers suggested certain changes in the scheme that was launched in 2020-21

Our Special Correspondent New Delhi Published 23.06.24, 11:40 AM
Nirmala Sitharaman in New Delhi on Saturday.

Nirmala Sitharaman in New Delhi on Saturday. PTI photo

States have urged the Centre to make some improvements in the 50-year interest-free loan scheme for pursuing capital investment projects, under which the Union government has proposed to give them 1.3 lakh crore this year — the same amount as 2023-24.

During a pre-budget meeting with finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, state finance ministers suggested certain changes in the scheme that was launched in 2020-21.

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Sitharaman underlined the Centre’s support to states through timely tax devolution and GST compensation arrears to stimulate growth.

Sitharaman also urged states to take advantage of the scheme under which the Centre gives 50-year interest free loans to states for undertaking specified reforms.

Sitharaman added that while most of the loans are untied, a part is conditional-linked to citizen-centric reforms by states and sector-specific capital projects and requested the states to avail of these loans by fulfilling requisite criteria.

Bengal finance minister Chandrima Bhattacharya told The Telegraph that she raised the issue of states’ pending dues from the Centre.

She said over 171,688 crore under various central schemes have been withheld and the money should be released at the earliest.

She pointed out that payment for the MGNREGA scheme has been due since March 2022 and the due amount under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana - Rural Scheme, the National Health Mission, the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, the Swachh Bharat Mission and Midday Meals have been pending.

Bhattacharya said the discrepancy in colour code should not act as a hurdle in the release of long term interest free loan for capital investment.

Rajasthan finance minister and deputy chief minister Diya Kumari told reporters that the state has asked for a hike in allocation towards the Eastern Rajasthan Canal Project, the Jal Jeevan Mission, certain national highways projects and railway lines.

Karnataka finance minister Krishna Byre Gowda sought the release of 5,300 crore of already announced assistance for Upper Bhadra Water Project and declare it a national project. He also sought inclusion of cesses and surcharges into a divisible pool.

Gowda also sought an increase in the central share to beneficiaries in housing schemes from 1.5 lakh to 5 lakh in urban areas and from 1.2 lakh to 3 lakh in rural areas.

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