Chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat said that Uttarakhand should receive financial assistance for its ecosystem services. Traditional grains like Mandua (finger millet) and Jhangora (barnyard millet) should be included in midday meal scheme.
Further, road, air and rail connectivity should be facilitated in the border regions of Uttarakhand. Rawat said this while attending the National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog governing council meeting presided over by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the national Capital on Saturday. Rawat said that by ensuring forest conservation on two-thirds of its geographical area, Uttarakhand is providing important ecosystem services to the nation.
He said, “For these ecosystem services we have to sacrifice our developmental opportunities. Hence, as compensation or encouragement, the Government of India is requested to provide financial assistance to the state.”
He also suggested that to encourage traditional crops of the states, in addition to rice and wheat, traditional crops like Mandua and Jhangora should also be included in midday meals.
The CM also thanked the PM for formation of Himalayan State Regional Council within NITI Aayog, Kedarnath reconstruction, Char Dham road project, Rishikesh-Karnprayag rail project and Namami Gange. All these projects are very important for Uttarakhand for the long term development of the state. Appreciating the Namami Gange initiative for cleaning the Ganga and its tributaries, he said that the success of the efforts can be gauged from the fact that from Gangotri to Lakshman Jhula-Rishikesh, the water of Ganga has been categorised in class A. Rawat further pointed out that Uttarakhand has international borders with China and Nepal. Migration from border and remote rural areas is serious challenge facing State government.
There is need for investment in provide infrastructural facilities like roads, water supply, electricity and to encourage employment generation in various spheres. Along with roads, air and rail connectivity should also be facilitated in such areas, he added.
The CM informed that the first investers summit was held in the state during October 2018 and various policies were introduced at the time to attract investers. A total of 600 MoUs amounting to Rs 1,24,000 crore have been signed so far with Rs 14,545 crore being invested in the state under 109 MoUs.
Regarding water conservation efforts, the CM informed that reservoirs are being built in various districts. Work is underway on the Saung dam drinking water scheme to enable uninterrupted water supply to Dehradun for more than 30 years.
Till 2022, the State Government will work for revival of 5,000 natural water sources. During 2018-19 various departments undertook 19.22 lakh constructions for rainwater harvesting which developed 11,730 lakh litre water storage capacity. The state has also made rainwater harvesting compulsory in building bylaws. The CM also spoke about the measures taken by the State Government for addressing various issues including malnutrition, agricultural development and rural growth centres.
Referring to the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee Act and Essential Commodities Act 1955, he said that to encourage investment in the agricultural sector, amendments are needed in the APMC and Essential Commodities Acts. He advocated deliberations with the States on this issue.