States seek more support for agri sector, central schemes

RSTV Bureau
File Photo: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley asked states to spend more on poverty alleviation and infrastructure building.

File Photo: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley asked states to spend more on poverty alleviation and infrastructure building.

States have sought increased support from the centre for implementing the centrally sponsored schemes like Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) and National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) and recommendations of the seventh pay commission. In the pre-budget meeting with finance minister Arun Jaitley, some of the states also asked greater focus on agriculture and social sectors in this year’s general budget.

Addressing his state counter parts, finance minister Arun Jaitley said the world economy is passing through a difficult phase and is quite fragile. He said it has also affected the country especially exports but the Indian economy was able to emerge as one of the fastest growing major economy in the world.

He said agricultural sector too has suffered due to inadequate monsoon rains over the last two years.

He hoped that additional allocation of resources to the states and union territories after implementation of 14th Finance Commission recommendations would be optimally utilised especially for the benefit of the poor and downtrodden section of society as well as for building infrastructure.

On their part, state governments asked for the enhanced support to implement development oriented centrally sponsored schemes like Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (MSA), ICDS and national rural health mission (NRHM) on the old pattern as many of the states felt unable to sustain them due to resource crunch.

States also demanded the payment of CST arrears and more support for the agriculture sector as the country has suffered drought and flood like situations in many parts this year.

Odisha, Punjab, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Assam and West Bengal demanded release of CST arrears during the meeting.

States also sought compensation for revenue losses due to the phasing out of the CST till the Goods and Services Tax (GST) is implemented along with the demand to increase borrowing limit.

“As far as central government is concerned, we would like to cooperate with every state, and as the growth of states increases, the national growth will also increase,” Jaitley assured the states. He also assured the states that their suggestions would be examined and suitably considered in the budget proposals for 2016-17.

(With inputs from agencies)