Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel on Saturday urged the Centre to make a "permanent arrangement" to compensate for the revenue loss suffered by states due to the GST regime and demanded a refund of Rs 19,000 crore deposited in the New Pension Scheme.
The chief minister made the demands during the eighth meeting of the governing council of NITI Aayog held here under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
During the meeting, Baghel also asked the central government to transfer the amount of 4,170 crore additional levy received from minerals to Chhattisgarh. The senior Congress leader said a civil suit has been filed by the Chhattisgarh government in the Supreme Court in this matter, and requested the Centre to reply soon and resolve the issue, according to a statement issued by the state government.
Besides, the chief minister demanded revision of royalty rates of coal and other major minerals from his state. Baghel said that due to non-amendment, the financial interests of the state are being adversely affected. The Chhattisgarh chief minister also urged the central government to bear the security expenditure of Rs 11,828 crore on the deployment of central forces and free the state from such costs, the statement said.
He raised the issue of refund of Rs 19,000 crore deposited in the New Pension Scheme during the meeting, it said. Baghel, during the budget session of the Chhattisgarh Assembly last year, had announced that his government would reinstate the old pension scheme (OPS). Later, his government wrote to the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority demanding refund of money deposited in the form of government and employee contribution towards NPS since November 2004.
During the NITI Aayog meeting, Baghel also demanded compensation for the losses suffered by the states due to the Goods and Services Tax (GST) system. "A permanent arrangement should be made at the earliest to compensate for the revenue loss," he was quoted as saying during the meeting.
The state's share in central taxes is getting less, Baghel argued, demanding that an amount of Rs 2,659 crore be made available to the state this financial year. On the agenda of the meeting, Chief Minister Baghel said the states have an important role in maintaining the unity and integrity of the country.
He said the central government should respect the rights of the states and strengthen the system of transferring its share of resources as well. Emphasizing on MSMEs, the chief minister said that the Rural and Cottage Industrial Policy 2023-24 has been announced with the aim of promoting entrepreneurship in rural areas in the state and to use the resources of the area at the local level.
Baghel said that only 25-30 per cent iron ore is being made available by the National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC) to the units located in the state. He urged the Centre to make available adequate iron ore for the units in the state. He said that the MSME industries of Chhattisgarh are not getting coal from South Eastern Coalfields Limited for the last two-three years as per the requirement of the state, and requested the Centre to take action on this subject to secure the interest of the state.
During the meeting, Baghel highlighted that in order to promote industrialization in the tribal region of Bastar, memorandums of understanding (MoUs) have been signed for capital investment of about Rs 9,000 crore in the last four years. He pointed out that three million tonnes of iron ore would be required annually for the steel industries.
Baghel requested that iron ore should be kept in reserve according to the production capacity of these steel plants and made available on priority basis. Along with this, 30 per cent discount should also be given in the rate of iron ore by NMDC under special incentive, he demanded.
He also suggested implementing MNREGA in cities with less than 20 thousand population. He called for appointing a nodal officer for early start and coordination of international air service from Raipur airport, the statement said.
During the meeting, Baghel also demanded setting up of solar power plants in 10 aspirational districts of Chhattisgarh as well as setting up of solar power plants up to 5 MW as green activities, and demanded exemption from forest diversion under the Forest Conservation Act.
The chief minister said that there should be an integrated MIS system for all programmes for the care of women and children. Besides, he also called for increasing the share of Centre-State funding to 75:25 under centrally sponsored schemes. The NITI Aayog's eighth governing council meeting was held with an aim to make India a developed nation by 2047.