Gujarat Finance Minister Saurabhbhai Patel has urged the Union Government to consider Desert Development Programme (DDP) area at par with Drought Prone Area Programme (DPAP) under Accelerated Irrigation benefit Programme (AIBP) Scheme. He called on Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and requested that Government of India should also make an immediate payment of royalty on crude oil on post discount price.
During the discussion, Patel appraised that under AIBP guidelines, Central Government provides financial assistance to the tune of 90 per cent in Drought Prone Area Programme (DPAP) areas and only 25 per cent in Desert Development Programme (DDP) areas. In the “modified AIBP Guidelines” made effective from October 2013, this anomaly has been removed for new projects benefitting DDP areas/Drought prone areas with 75 per cent assistance. However, the ongoing projects remain stuck at the 25 per cent Central assistance, the Minister stated requesting the Union Minister to extend the same level of Central aid for ongoing project works as well.
Gujarat Minister also raised the issue of releasing of central fund for Gujarat Lokayukta and said that the crucial bill was not cleared for no fault of ours and therefore Gujarat did not get central funding of Rs. 1200 crores. He demanded that GoI should release the fund to Gujarat as the State Government has already appointed Lokayukta and has done the necessary work required.
Patel also explained in detail the Supreme Court judgment which has been in favour of the State Government and at present royalty on crude oil is being paid by the decision taken by former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. In between for a certain period the UPA Government had done injustice to the state of Gujarat and Patel requested the Union Finance Minister to undo the injustice and direct ONGC to do the needful. Jaitley assured Patel that he will look into the merits of each and every cas e and will do the needful.