The Annual Plan for the year 2013-14 for the state of Uttarakhand was finalised here today at a meeting between Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission, Mr. Montek Singh Ahluwalia and Chief Minister of Uttarakhand, Mr. Vijay Bahuguna. The plan size has been agreed at Rs. 8,500 crore.
In his comments on the plan performance of the State, Mr Ahluwalia said the commission is fully aware of the infrastructure deficit in the State and constraint in meeting the cost of infrastructure development. He said the State need to further encourage private sector participation in infrastructure development. Improved infrastructure would help the State in fully tapping the potential in sectors like tourism while catalysing economic activity in all regions of the State.
Mr Ahluwalia said that despite development constraints, State has done well in picking up pace of development. Although, it is still not at par with the national average on human development index yet noticeable improvements have been registered in various segments. Achievements in education and health sectors were specially appreciated. Members of the Commission pointed out that the States could help central Government in improving efficiency of the centrally sponsored schemes by pointing out problems in implementation. They were of the opinion that suggestions from State would help in timely corrections and thus help in reaching targets.
Planning Commission recognised the relevance of developing Teri Dam area as an international tourism destination and asked State Government to give a full presentation on the project so as to evolve a plan to fund this project.
Mr. Bahuguna said that the industrial package given by the Central Government for the ten year from 2003 to 2013 has been prematurely withdrawn in 2010 which is adversely affecting the industrial development. He also requested for special grant to provide adequate facilities to the tourist/pilgrims as the State had dual responsibilities of facilitating a population which is 3-4 times the population of the State. Creating civil amenities for tourists/pilgrims was an extra burden on the State™s limited resources, he said.
Drawing attention to the problems being faced in the development of physical infrastructure, he said more than 200 villages are situated at mouth of land slides. Re-settlement and rehabilitation of these villages need huge resources. He said more than Rs. 500 crore would be required to relocate and rehabilitate these villages before the disaster strikes.
In order to remain an attractive location for further investment, the State Government has to support creation of attractive industrial and social infrastructure. He said infrastructure development through public private partnership is being encouraged. To fast track PPP projects a new policy has been approved and 12 projects are being successfully implemented in PPP mode. Another 57 projects of various are in pipeline. The investor friendly policies initiated by the Government has resulted in the investment of more than Rs.35,000 crore and would generate employment for 2 lakh persons.
The Chief Minister sought Planning Commission support in getting green bonus for protecting forests and compensation for power projects stalled due to environmental clearances. He said despite constraints the State was well set to achieve growth rate target for the 12th Plan. Agriculture would continue to be the focus of development strategy as over 60% population is dependent on this sector.