Raipur: Chhattisgarh's Commercial Tax Minister Amar Agrawal has demanded 'special area' status for tribal-dominated Bastar region of the state to ensure equitable development and eradicate regional imbalance.
"At the Union Finance Minister's pre-budget meeting, the Minister (Agarwal) said that Bastar area should be notified as 'special area' in the pattern of KBK (Kalahandi-Balangir-Koraput) districts of Odisha and Bundelkhand region of Madhya Pradesh-Uttar Pradesh in the next Union Budget," an official release saidon Thursday.
The demand was made because "the entire area was worst affected by Left wing extremism and ranked low in human development indicators," it said.
Besides, the minister also demanded additional funds of Rs 3,000 crore for implementation of provisions of Right To Education Act.
He said states should be permitted to set up residential schools in scheduled areas under 'Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan' and suggested that scholarship to hostelers be given for 12 months instead of 10 months.

Opposing the proposed direct cash transfer scheme for food, the minister has said the idea will not work as there is no proper banking system in remote areas. Banks being far-flung and fluctuation in food prices will also be a major problem for the cash scheme.
The minister suggested that the plan document be recast in a manner that the design and implementation of all development schemes are left to the states and funds for all centrally sponsored schemes be allocated through the state government.
For the energy sector, he suggested that coal bearing states should be exempted from pooling price mechanism of imported coal and state-owned power plants be given priority and 100 percent linkage. He also requested for suitable amendments in Services Tax Act.


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