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HindustanTimes Fri,26 Dec 2014

Foreign visits by ministers, babus only if necessary: Uttarakhand CM

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Dehradun, August 18, 2014
First Published: 22:06 IST(18/8/2014) | Last Updated: 22:08 IST(18/8/2014)

Uttarakhand chief minister Harish Rawat said on Monday that foreign visits of cabinet ministers or officials would be allowed only in case of necessity, a measure he said was part of the "hard decisions" he had announced would be taken to improve governance.

"We understand the value of study tours… but the officials and ministers wanting to visit abroad or within the country would've to explain how beneficial such study tours would be for them and their respective departments," Rawat told reporters.

Announcing a few other tough measures, the CM said an employee's request for transfer on medical grounds would be entertained only if the illness is serious. In case the employee still proceeds on leave, Rawat said, it would be deemed as leave without pay.

Often, newly-appointed teachers delay joining their first place of posting to gain time so that they can manage posting at a preferred place. Such an act would be considered as violation of government orders, Rawat said.

A self-auditing system would be part of the new measures aimed at strengthening transparency, Rawat added.

"For example, an official authorised to issue licences to rickshaw pullers would have to share with his higher-ups the details of the beneficiaries," the CM said.

To curb spread of slums, it would be mandatory for builders to construct low-cost housing while building high-rise residential complexes in urban areas, Rawat said.


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‘Central aid to state rose in past 3 yrs, but growth slow’

The annual assistance from the Centre to the state has increased in last few financial years, according to official statistics, even though the Uttarakhand government has been firing salvos at the central government over it.
 
Two days ago, the state Congress unit demanded `4,000 crore financial assistance from the centre.
According to the central statistics office figures, the Centre released `4883.74 crores for the state in 2011-12. It released `4717.68 crores in 2012-2013. And in 2013-2014, it increased the assistance to `5418.60 crores.

Uttarakhand is one of the 11 Himalayan states which enjoy special category status besides Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura and Sikkim.
 
These special category states have to make part payment to the centre in lieu of getting funds for centrally-sponsored schemes.
Interestingly, on an average, central assistance has been substantial for the state though it has not helped Uttarakhand in increasing its Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) which is total monetary value of goods and services produced by a state economy in a given year.
“GSDP depends on various factors like rate of savings and investments and overall business atmosphere. But that doesn’t mean the state does not need help,” said Surender Kumar, media in-charge for CM adding that the state needs more funds.
 
The figures for Uttarakhand GSDP growth at constant (2004-5) price (as on 01-08-2014) was 9.36% in 2011-12. It was 5.61% in 2012-13 and 5.65% in 2013-2014.
 
Sometime back Planning Commission constituted a committee to study development in hill states arising from management of forest land with special focus on creation of infrastructure, livelihood and human development.
 
The report of the committee was discussed in Internal Planning Committee meeting held in February this year.
A Planning Commission note claimed that IPC broadly endorsed the recommendations of the committee. The report has also been forwarded to states for further inputs.

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