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19 Jan, 2012

Rajasthan: State Ministers, Govt Officers, Have To Disclose Property Holdings


Excerpts from speech by Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot at the 10th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2012, Jaipur.

Displaying their exceptional business acumen and dedication towards social service, the non resident Indian community has gained tremendous recognition in 110 countries across the world. Along with this, you have played a significant role in carrying the civilization and culture of India to far off lands.

As you all may be aware,in the year 2000, Government of Rajasthan first took the initiative to organise an International Rajasthani Conclave. Following its historic success, Government of India also decided to organise an annual event for non-resident Indians in the year 2003. I am happy that on our request, with the support of Government of India, the capital city of Rajasthan has been chosen to host this event which is a matter of pride for us.

Rajasthan is the largest state of India in geographical terms. Due to its peaceful and harmonious environment, political stability, hospitality and speedy development Rajasthan has acquired a prominent place in India as well as the world. Our state has a distinct identity due to its abundance of mineral resources, historical tourist spots, invaluable cultural heritage, various types of handicrafts and industriousness of its people.

Progress of Rajasthan in last few years on all fronts has been promising. The gross domestic product (GSDP) of the State grew by 9.69 per cent in the year 2010-11 (on constant prices of 2004-05). Agriculture and allied sector registered a growth of 27 per cent in 2010-11 over the previous year. Thus, on development parameters, Rajasthan is among the front-line states in the country.

The thirteenth Finance Commission has estimated gross state domestic product (GSDP) growth of Rajasthan at 11.5 per cent. There has been an encouraging improvement in the financial position of the State. We have nearly eliminated fiscal deficit. This was achieved through increase in revenue and control on expenditure.

I believe that sound infrastructure, quality roads, good rail network, uninterrupted quality power supply, sufficient water availability, availability of technically skilled manpower, good law and order, effective and transparent processes, simple tax structure and efficient administrative system is essential for all round development and progress of any state. And the State adequately meets all these parameters.

The contribution of agriculture sector to the GDP of the State is 22 per cent. In the year 2010-11, as a result of good rainfall, hard work of the farmers and efforts of the State Government, agriculture production registered a record growth. Looking at the immense possibilities in production growth, processing and export of horticulture crops in Rajasthan, Policy for Promotion of Agro-Processing Industries & Agri-Business, 2010 has been implemented.

In accordance with the needs of the state, Agriculture Policy is being drafted by the State Government to ensure agricultural development. Short and long term strategy for agriculture development will be prepared with the help of this policy.

Along with this, in the 12th five-year plan, most efficient use of water for agriculture will be promoted. For this, setting up of sprinkle irrigation system at 25,000 water reservoirs, 40,000 farm ponds, all wells and tube wells and promotion of drip irrigation over 1.25 lakh hectare area is proposed.

Nature has endowed Rajasthan with enormous mineral resources. We are making efforts to utilise these resources to the fullest and establish new landmarks in the improvement of the economy of the State. 79 varieties of minerals are found in the state, of which 58 are being commercially exploited. The State has a leading position in mineral resources and offers excellent opportunities for setting up mineral-based industries here. Today, almost all major cement companies have their cement plants in the State. For all-round development of the sector, Mineral Policy-2011 has been launched in the State.

The crude oil reserve of the State is estimated at 900 million tonnes and its commercial production has already started in the year 2009.

Special attention is being given to development of Information Technology (IT) and IT enabled services (ITES) in the State. For promotion of the futuristic nanotechnology, the State Government is setting up Centre of Excellence for NanoTechnology. A network for research in the area of nanotechnology will be created through this Centre.

World famous companies like Genpact, lnfosys, Deutsche Bank and Wipro and local companies like Data Infosys, E-connect and Meta Cube have set up their operations here.

Rajasthan is one of the few states where growth achieved in power generation capacity has been greater than the targets. During the 1Oth five year plan, capacity augmentation of 755 mw was achieved against a target of 660 mw. This convinces me that during the 11th five year plan too, the capacity increase will exceed the targets.

Against a target of 1790 mw, capacity increase of 1290 mw has already been achieved in the State sector. Another 960 mw capacity is expected to be added by March, 2012. An additional capacity of 1080 mw is expected to be added in the private sector by March, 2012. Thus, a capacity addition of 3330 mw will be achieved by March 2012.

14 power generation projects with a capacity of 11590 mw have been approved in the State for the 12th five year plan period. These include 9 power projects of 7750 mw capacity in the State sector and 5 power projects of 3840 mw capacity in the private sector.

To promote energy conservation and energy efficiency, a Rajasthan State Energy Conservation Fund has been constituted.

Exemption in electricity charges is being given to encourage the use of solar water heating systems and energy efficient pump sets. Use of solar water heating system has been made compulsory in all hospitals, hotels, hostels and residential buildings with area greater than 500 square meters. Through these efforts, by the year 2013-14, the State will be self-sufficient in power sector. Progress of Rajasthan in the area of renewable energy is also creditable. For self-reliance in the sector, we have announced the Solar Power Policy 2010.

We are continuously trying to give our industries a competitive advantage by developing network of high quality roads for easy transport, uninterrupted quality power supply, availability of sufficient water, proper communication and logistic facilities. 6644 crore rupees have been spent on development of roads in the State over the last 3 years. In view of the increasing pressure of traffic, national highways are being widened.

Jaipur-Gurgaon section and Kishangarh-Beawar road are being upgraded to 6-lane highways. Chittorgarh-Kota section has been made 4-lane now and Jaipur-Tonk-Devli will be upgraded to 4-lane this month. Jaipur-Reengus and Alwar-Bhiwadi will also be made into 4-lane next year.

In-principle approval by Central Government has been given for announcement of 16 new national highways of 3545 kilometers and of these, 5 national highways have been announced. 16 mega highway projects have also been prepared for the State. Work to the tune of 3518 crore rupees is proposed to be done by agencies of the State on 22 projects of 1440 kilometers.

All parts of the State are well connected by rail network. The State is connected to Jawaharlal Nehru Port, Kandla Port and Mundra Port. We will give 1250 crore rupees to Indian Railways under the viability gap funding for connecting tribal areas like Banswara-Dungarpur to Ratlam by a 176 km rail line.

Maximum part (39%) of Dedicated Freight Corridor, the mega project of Government of India passes through Rajasthan. Infrastructure will be developed in a band of 150 km on both sides of the corridor under the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor project. A 1,000 mw gas-based power plant is proposed to be set up in Banswara by Government of India.

Work is going on in full swing at Khuskhera-Bhiwadi-Neemrana and Jodhpur-Pali-Marwar, the selected nodes of Rajasthan in the DMIC area. This offers possibility of increase in employment, production and construction in the State. Considering the strategic importance of Rajasthan, Government of India has started work on development of a National Manufacturing and Investment Zone in the State. This is expected to result in economic development and employment generation in the State.

As a result of Industry-friendly policies, positive approach and active support of the government, Rajasthan is setting new benchmarks in all areas of development. To give legal status to Single Window System launched here, the ‘Rajasthan Enterprises Single Window Enabling and Clearance Act-2011’ has been enforced in the entire State with effect from April, 2011. The ‘Rajasthan Industrial and Investment Promotion Policy-2010’ has been recently announced under which special provisions have been made to promote Thrust Sectors. Complementing this, ‘Rajasthan Investment Promotion Scheme-2010’ has also been announced.

Similarly, draft of Rajasthan Infrastructure Development Act has been prepared with the objective of developing high quality infrastructure with private investment. Besides this, a Rajasthan Infrastructure Development Board with statutory powers will be set up.

As you all are aware, two-thirds of area of Rajasthan falls under arid zone (Desert Area). Rajasthan Environment Mission has been set up in the State and an Environment Policy has been made keeping in mind the special ecosystem of the State. In addition, an action plan for Acclimatization to Environmental Change along with a State Forest Policy has also been prepared under which the target is to increase forestation in the State from 9.56% to 20%.

The Rajasthan Guaranteed Delivery of Public Services Act-2011 has been implemented in the State to ensure delivery of services to people of the State by government offices within the predetermined time frame. In the first phase, 108 services provided by 15 departments have already been notified under the Act. Under this Act, the State Government has provided for not only disciplinary action but also penalty on officers not providing time-bound services to the general public.

A public complaint portal, ‘E-sugam’ has been started for quick redressal of public grievances. Any citizen from any district of the State can file a complaint, problem or an ‘abhav abhiyog’ (non-availability complaint) directly through this portal.

In the same way, a program is being developed for delivery of various government services to general public at one place through the State Service Delivery Gateway. For this, a State portal will be set up on the lines of the Central portal of Government of India.

To bring transparency in purchase of various materials in government departments, an ‘e-procurement system’ has been planned. Rajasthan Transparency Act is proposed to bring in transparency in the Store Purchase rules and Tendering System. Through this Act it will be possible to implement E-procurement in a phased manner.

On the same lines, to ensure transparency and accountability in the administration, we have done away with discretionary powers of the Ministers.

The details of property held by all members of the Council of Ministers along with the Chief Minister have been placed on website.

The details of property held by all members of Indian Administrative Services and State Administrative Services have also been placed on website. Similar details of 45000 gazetted officers in state services have been made available on website as well orders have been issued to withhold promotion of officers not providing details of their property. This decision has been welcomed by the public.

The State Government is using Information Technology and Communication Technique for improving governance and increasing investment and employment opportunities in the State. Citizen-centric services are being made available using information technology and IT based infrastructure is being created and expanded in the State. For providing citizen-centric e-services, 3 per cent of plan budget of all government departments has been reserved for IT Development.

Many new initiatives have been taken for facilitating business in the State. E-registration facility has been provided under the State Value Added Tax Act and Central Sales Tax Act. Businessmen are now obtaining registrations while sitting at home rather than going from door-to-door. E-payment, efiling and e-refund Facilities have been provided in the State. Rajasthan has been the most successful state in the country in terms of e-payment.

Flying Squad System in the Commercial Taxes Department has been discontinued. DTH and Cable Cinema have been exempted from entertainment tax. A Privilege Card Scheme has been implemented to honour the tax payers. Businessmen have been identified and eligible Businessmen have been issued Privilege Cards.

For better law and order in the State, Police Commissioner System has been implemented in Jaipur and Jodhpur.

Positive environment and policies are resulting in flow of international investments into the State. Famous companies of the world like Gillette, Ray Ban, Mica Bosch and Ericsson were already present here and now several large multinationals like Lafarge Group, Honda, Saint Gobain, Nissin, Mitsui, Daikin, Mitsubishi etc. are setting up their units in the State.

The State Capital, Jaipur is emerging as a world class city. After the setting up of an international airport here, work has commenced on 9732 crore rupee ultra modern metro rail project.

From the point of view of Tourism, Rajasthan occupies a special place not only on the Indian but also the world tourism map. The forts, palaces, temples, step-wells & other buildings, excellent handicrafts & architecture and wild life sanctuaries of Rajasthan are major tourist attractions. In the year 2010, a total of 2.68 crore tourists visited the state, of which 2.55 crore were domestic and 13 lakh were foreign tourists. One in every five foreign tourists coming to India visits Rajasthan.

The 12th Five Year Plan Approach Paper emphasises the need for increase in public and private investment in higher technical education. Over the last decade, there has been substantial increase in private investment in higher and technical education in the State. The State has 15 State-funded Universities, 9 deemed universities, 25 private Universities, 142 Government colleges and 1329 private colleges where 15 1akh students are enrolled.

Besides this, Rajasthan is becoming an important centre for technical education. The State has 124 engineering colleges, 177 polytechnics, 38 MCA institutes and 113 MBA institutes. Over the last three years, quality technical education has also grown. IIT has been set up in Jodhpur and IIM in Udaipur. Academic sessions have commenced in both the institutions. An IIT has been planned in Kota on public-private partnership model.

Many policy decisions have been taken to keep school education in tune with the times. Teachers are being trained for better skills in English and textbooks are being made for English language. Computer labs are operational in 6650 schools for computer education. In the last 7 years, 3,57,910 teachers have been provided computer training by Microsoft and Intel.

‘Rajasthan Mission on Skill and Livelihoods’ has been set up in the State for developing skills and livelihoods among the youth in the State. In this Mission, conducting of Skill Development Training Programs has been presented as a model which has been discussed and appreciated by UNDP among various states and the Central Government. 192 types of skill training programmes are being organised in 34 economic sectors. These programmes are of 40-90 days duration where youth from any section between the ages of 16 to 35 years can participate. Till date 43274 youth have been trained through these programmes.

Major private sector groups such as Fortis Group, Narayana Hrudayalaya, Apollo Clinic, Religare etc. have set up ultra modern medical and treatment facilities. Max, Modi, Reliance and other well known groups have also expressed interest in setting up their projects here. Setting up of AIIMS and National Institute of Fashion Technology in Jodhpur are important developments.

Today Rajasthan has established its identity as an important State of India. This State offers abundant opportunities for investment. As such, we welcome with open hearts whatever support or contribution you may wish to extend. Your support will be a great morale booster for us.

We are proud of your achievements today and in the same way I feel if we all come together to work towards the development of Rajasthan, we shall all have a sense of pride in the endeavour. 1 and 1 makes 11; walking hand- in-hand we shall succeed in attaining the heights of progress.

I can confidently say that like International Rajasthani Conclave, this edition of Pravasi Bharatiya Divas will also succeed in setting a wonderful example in the development of the State as well as the Country.