SSP gets 17.5 per cent of state's plan outlay
By A Staff Reporter
AHMEDABAD: The Planning Commission on Monday fixed Gujarat's annual plan at Rs 7,600 crore - 16 per cent more than last year's figure of Rs 6,550 crore - following a meeting between Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel and the deputy chairman of Planning Commission KC Pant in New Delhi.
Almost Rs 1,330 crore - 17.5 per cent of the outlay - goes to the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP). The Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Limited (SSNNL) has envisaged raising Rs 1,794 crore from its own sources while the contribution of other beneficiary states is Rs 605.17 crore. This takes the total investment in the project to a staggering Rs 3,750 crore this year which has been approved by the Planning Commission.
The massive allocation for the SSP comes amidst the ongoing debate in the country on whether big dams would be able to solve the drought and drinking water problem or small water-management schemes would provide much better results with a smaller expenditure.
The annual plan gives priority to the social services by allocating Rs 2499.42 crore (32.89 per cent) for health, education, water supply, welfare of backward classes etc.
Under the irrigation and flood control schemes an amount of Rs 1895.86 crore (24.95 per cent) has been allocated. This includes Rs 1,330 crore for the ambitious Sardar Sarovar Project. The chief minister's favourite Gokul Gram Yojana gets an outlay of Rs 141 crore.
According to official sources, K C Pant appreciated the prudent fiscal management of the government at the meeting with the chief minister. The report prepared by the Reserve Bank of India on state finances in January this year indicates that Gujarat is in the forefront of fiscal consolidation exercise on various fronts. Gujarat has got the highest share (70 per cent) in the social and economic expenditure.
Besides, as against the national average of 35.2 per cent on non-developmental expenditure, Gujarat's figure is only 28.2 per cent. On expenditure control, the state government has asked all departments, grant-in-aid institutions, corporations and board to cut down staff size by 10 per cent.
Reacting to the plan size, the chief minister said the government has given priority to the programmes relating to weaker sections of society , basic minimum services, employment generation, poverty alleviation, water supply, primary health general education Sardar Sarovar project, balanced regional development and ongoing irrigation projects which are nearing completion.
The chief minister also informed that the SSP was the only option available to fight drought in the state.