Rajasthan CM demands Special status to state

Rajasthan Chief Minister(CM) Ashok Gehlot once again demanded special status for Rajasthan at the 56th meeting of the National Development Council (NDC) at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi on Saturday. He said that keeping in view the peculiar geographical condition, scarcity of water and drought-like situations in the state, special status is required. "We have identified the major challenges of balancing the increasing demand of water, infrastructure development, industrial development and creation of employment opportunities before us in the next Plan," he said while addressing the 56th meeting of the National Development Council (NDC) here.  The Chief Minister pointed out that the norms assumed for various components of resources pertaining to the Centre "should not be applied to developing states such as Rajasthan" while estimating different sources of states' resources for financing the 12th Plan. 
Commenting on the power scenario in the state, Gehlot said Rajasthan had considerable potential for power generation through non-conventional energy sources. "In this direction, we have planned comprehensive power evacuation project of Rs 2,700 crore for carrying renewable energy to load centres and the project proposal has been sent to Union New and Renewable Energy Ministry," he said. Noting that cost of supply of electricity in the state was high due to high cost of transportation of coal, Gehlot said the "Centre should evolve a mechanism so that the retail tariffs in all the states are comparable and more or less similar." On the density of National Highways in the state, the Chief Minister said the state had 1.67 km per sq km of such roads which was less than the national average of 2.15 km. "Therefore, new national highways should be declared in Rajasthan... Adequate increase in fund allocation be made for strengthening and renovation of national highways having less than two lanes," he said.
What is Special Status State Category: Special Status State category are given special treatment from central Govt. for various development programs and budgets. Presently, 11 small States flaunt the special status tag. Namely, the seven North-eastern States, Sikkim, Uttarakhand, Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh. ‘Special’ status is accorded to States having harsh terrain, inadequate economic and social infrastructure, backwardness, predominant tribal population and a weak resource base. The special State status is in the context of Centre-State finances. It entails a State getting a bigger share of the Centre's resource pie and significant excise duty concessions to help industrial development. Apart from that, 30% of the Centre's gross budgetary support for Plan expenditure goes to special-category States. Thus, given this backdrop any change in the share of the Central assistance pie going to the 11 special category States would raise controversy, within the group and without.