CHENNAI: Chief Minister O Panneerselvam on Friday presented a lengthy wish-list of Tamil Nadu for being included in the 2015-16 Union budget.
Speaking at the pre-budget meeting of State Finance Ministers at Delhi, he placed the key demands of the state. Prominent among them are reimbursement of `7,098.88 crore compensation for revenue loss due to slashing Central Sales Tax (CST) rate, approval for extension of Chennai Metro Rail up to Thiruvotriyur and Wimco Nagar at a cost of `3,253 Cr, nod for `1,371.86 cr 150 MLD desalination plant for Chennai, including at least 10 cities of TN in the list of Smart Cities, approval for linking Cauvery, Vaigai and Gundar rivers at a cost of `5,166 Cr, quick launch of Phase II of Urban Renewal Mission with adequate funding, convergence of welfare schemes of the Centre and the States with similar objectives, adequate funding for post-matric scholarships for SC students and dispensing with distinction between plan and non-plan expenditure.
He said inter-linking peninsular rivers like Mahanadhi-Godavari-Krishna-Pennar-Palar-Cauvery and Gundar would immensely benefit in controlling floods and irrigating dry areas.
Conceived by the Vajpayee Government, it had been given a new lease of life in the 2014-2015 budget with an allocation of `100 crore for the detailed project report. He expressed hope that this would be carried forward with due priority and adequate budgetary support.
Stating that TN had made considerable progress in linking Thamirabarani-Nambiyar rivers with State funds, he regretted that Central funds were not forthcoming.
Further, he urged for inclusion of the linking of Cauvery, Vaigai and Gundar rivers in the ensuing budget.
On the Smart Cities project, he said these should also be an enabler for technology driven service delivery and management of complex problems like Solid Waste Management, Waste Water Management, etc. Growing cities like Salem, Tiruchy, Thoothukudi, Cuddalore and Erode have the right credentials for consideration as Smart Cities apart from Chennai, Coimbatore and Madurai. At least 10 from the state are fully eligible for this list.
In his view, the ambitious ‘Make in India’ mission would be possible and sustainable only if the MSME Sector was revitalized, which require a special scheme with five per cent interest subvention and fund for integrated development of MSME estates.
The Chief Minister said the Centre should converge schemes with similar objectives implemented by both the Centre and States. For, implementing parallel schemes would lead to duplication. Calling for setting up of an Infrastructure Fund to extend long term finance (more than 12 years) to projects in PPP mode, he said the Viability Gap Fund Scheme should be easily accessible to State Government projects without tedious administrative processes.
The Centre was suggested to constitute a infrastructure viability gap funding committee at the State-level with a Central representative for speedy clearance.
He reiterated that the Centre should allay the fears of the States before hustling through the Constitutional Amendment Bill on GST.