Jaipur: Citing Rajasthan`s geographical situation and erratic weather conditions, Congress on Monday urged the 14th Finance Commission to grant special category status to the state.
Two leaders of Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) B D Kalla, former chairman of state finance commission, and Pradhyuman Singh, former state finance minister, made a presentation before the visiting Finance Commission Chairman Dr Y V Reddy and held discussion with his team at the secretariat here.
Rajasthan faces numerous challenges in the process of development and service delivery because of constraints like severely deficient and erratic rainfall, hugely scattered population, issues with the availability and quality of water and a large number of economically deprived and socially marginalised persons, the leaders said.
Providing drinking water facility is the state`s topmost requirement as Rajasthan has only about 1 per cent of the country`s water with 5.5 per cent of its population, they said.
A sum of Rs 51,000 crore will be required over a period of five years to fill the gaps in water supply by augmenting the existing sources, improving the distribution system and addressing the quality, they added.
On the pattern of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan should be granted a special package for industrial investment in view of the sandy desert tribal districts of the state, they said.
A special grant may be sanctioned for the state for schemes in the fields of health care and social security, the Congress leaders further demanded.
The commission should consider recommending incentives for environment-friendly exploitation of natural resources and specific incentives for promotion of coarse grains like barley, pearl millet and sorghum, they said.
On restructuring programme for state power utilities, they said the Centre may be directed to share 50 per cent of the financial burden of the restructuring.
To rectify the imbalance in resources, the state`s share in Central taxes may be increased from 32 per cent to 50 per cent, they said, quoting their six-page memorandum.