Jaipur: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitaraman, who presented the Union Budget 2023-24, made no specific announcement for Rajasthan, which is going to the state assembly election in December this year.
Announcements have been made for sectors including tourism, MSMEs, artisans, and green energy, in which Rajasthan has the potential to get a major boost, the budget has no mention of the national status for the Eastern Rajasthan Canal Project (ERCP).
Congress targeting BJP
The Rs 37,000 crore project was initiated when Vasundhara Raje was the chief minister before the Ashok Gehlot formed the government in 2018 and was cleared in principle by the Central Water Board.
The Congress Government took it forward and made a financial provision of Rs 9,500 crore in its last budget, but demanded a national status looking at the project cost.
The issue took a political turn when Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, who is from Rajasthan, became the Union Jal Shakti Minister.
The project assumes importance as the irrigation and drinking water needs of 13 districts of eastern Rajasthan will be fulfilled. The grand old party is targeting the central minister and the BJP for not getting it cleared despite being in power.
Disappointment around ERCP issue
Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said an announcement was expected on the ERCP issue, but the budget has disappointed the Rajasthanis.
“The people of the state are disappointed because the central government has not accepted our just demand of giving national status to the ERCP, an important project related to the development of Rajasthan,” Gehlot said.
He accused the Centre of meting out a step-motherly treatment to Rajasthan, saying, “The provision of additional assistance of Rs5,300 crore to Karnataka for the Upper Bhadra Project, keeping the election in mind, shows the step-motherly treatment of the Narendra Modi Government towards Rajasthan.”
“Rajasthan will give a befitting reply to this step-motherly treatment at the right time (in elections),” Gehlot added.
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