Presenting her first full-fledged Budget in the state assembly, Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje on Monday flipped most of the Ashok Gehlot government’s big ticket projects. She targeted the previous Congress regime over Barmer oil refinery project, free medicine scheme and Jaipur Metro rail and promised to fix such plans to optimise profits for the state exchequer.
Raje, who also holds the finance portfolio, took a hard stand on the oil refinery-cum-petrochemical in Barmer and announced that the terms of the project will be renegotiated with Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited. “The previous state government committed to pay Rs 3,736 crore for 15 years as an interest free loan. This would amount to over Rs. 56,000 crore… For such a lucrative project, the state government agreed to pay Rs 56,000 crore but kept the state’s share limited to only 26 per cent,” she told the House.
Raje lambasted the Gehlot government for hastily introducing the Jaipur metro rail project and grudged running it. She also picked holes in Gehlot’s most popular free medicine and test scheme. “We will review the eligibility criteria for both these schemes. Based on food security cardholders, we will introduce this insurance as part of the Bhamashah Yojana and will cover 67 per cent families in the state. The beneficiaries will be entitled to treatment at government and accredited private hospitals as indoor patients. Each family will be insured worth Rs 30,000 for regular ailments and Rs 3 lakh for specified serious ailments.”
Raje focused on strengthening tourism, power generation, solar and renewable energy, and water resources. She proposed a revision of tax regime to earn Rs 350 crore revenues and announced a total plan outlay of Rs 69,820 crore for 2014-15 compared to Rs 40,500 crore of 2013-14. She presented a revenue surplus Budget for the current fiscal and stated that the estimated fiscal deficit would be Rs 20,186 crore in 2014-15 which is 3.52 per cent of GSDP.
Jaipur Metro project was ‘unwise’: Raje
Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje and her predecessor Ashok Gehlot Monday locked horns over the much-touted Jaipur Metro rail project. A month before the first leg of the 12 km metro corridor is slated to be thrown open to the public, Raje called it a “financially unwise decision” and grudged running it. The CM, while presenting her Budget, said that she agreed to completing Phase 1 B only because leaving it unfinished would only lead to further operational losses.
“The previous government made an allocation of more than Rs 3,000 crore for a stretch of only 12 km of metro rail. In terms of finances, bringing in a Metro rail project here cannot be called a good decision. I reiterate, in this Rs 3,400 crore allocated for the metro, we could have made 110 road over bridges and 5,000 km of roads across the state. In addition to run the metro, the state will incur losses of at least Rs 60-80 crore per year,” she told the House. “Experts feel that the project was implemented in haste.
Not just the project but even the trains were bought in unnecessary haste. The stretch from Chandpole to Badi Chaupar will start in 2018 but for this phase the previous government ordered two metro trains worth Rs 100 crore in 2012. So for the next three years these trains will gather dust.”
Rooting for his pet project, Gehlot argued Raje’s disapproval of the Jaipur metro rail goes against the posture of the NDA government at the Centre that promised to introduce bullet trains and metro rail in Lucknow and Ahmedabad.