HindustanTimes Sat,27 Dec 2014

No intention of leaving Cong, says Satpal Maharaj’s wife

Prithviraj Singh  Dehradun, March 24, 2014
First Published: 15:37 IST(24/3/2014) | Last Updated: 15:44 IST(24/3/2014)

Cabinet minister Amrita Rawat, wife of former Congress leader Satpal Maharaj who recently joined the BJP, on Sunday informed the governor that she had no intention of leaving the Congress and would like to be a part of the government and the party.

She met governor Aziz Qureshi on Sunday morning and  expressed her confidence in the Harish Rawat-led government.

“I am in the Congress party and a member of the state government. The Rawat government has my full support and there is no threat to it as is being publicised by a few people. I have no plan to join the BJP or leave the Congress,” said Amrita Rawat, who is also the state tourism and child welfare minister in the Rawat cabinet.

This comes a day after a section of the Congress legislative party reportedly demanded that the CM remove her from the ministry.

Following Maharaj’s crossing over, there were speculations that he would try to pull the plug on the Congress-led minority government by having the MLAs under his command switch their loyalties and help BJP form the government.

Though Maharaj and the MLAs loyal to him rubbished them, the Congress workers had not completely ruled out this move and were reportedly demanding Amrita’s removal.

According to Congress leaders close to Rawat, this situation is what led her to meet the governor and emphasis her loyalty to the government.

Rawat said she had no role in Maharaj’s decision to quit the Congress and categorically said she intended to stay the party.

CM Rawat also defended her and said she was an important government member and had not shown any interest to follow Maharaj’s decision.

more from Dehradun

‘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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