Centre not sharing benefits of low crude prices with people, states: Raj Guv in address to House

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Jaipur, Feb 10 (PTI) Rajasthan Governor Kalraj Mishra Wednesday said the Centre was not sharing with people or with state governments the benefits of drastic fall in international crude prices even as he highlighted the Ashok Gehlot-led dispensation's works on law and order, women's safety and COVID-19 management.

In his customary address to the state assembly on the first day of the budget session, which reflects the policies of the government, the governor said the state government has reduced VAT on petrol and diesel by two percent to give relief to the common people.

Mishra, who was appointed the Governor of Rajasthan in September 2019, also said the state government has passed three new agriculture bills by calling a special session of the assembly to protect the interest of farmers.

The Ashok Gehlot-led Congress government had passed the bills in a special session in November to counter the contentious Central agriculture laws, but they have not been cleared by the governor yet.

'Instead of passing on the benefit of drastic fall in crude oil prices in the international market, the central government is continuously increasing additional excise duty and special excise duty and decreasing basic excise duty due to which revenue of states received from divisible pool is continuously decreasing,' the governor said in his address.

He also underlined the state government's works on COVID-19 management, policing and women's safety, telling the Assembly that 'quick and effective' investigation into rape cases has slashed the time taken to probe by 60 per cent.

His address was interrupted constantly by CPI (M) MLA Balwan Poonia, who kept raising slogans against the Central government and demanded the three Central farm laws be scrapped.

Congress MLA Indra Meena reached the assembly building driving a tractor. 'I want to give a message to farmers across the country that the Congress stands with them in their agitation against the farm laws,' she told reporters outside the building.

Mishra said that due to the state government's policy of registering all FIRs, every complainant is being filed in the state and investigation units for crime against women have been set up in every district.

The governor said that for assisting people, the Rajasthan Police has started a Twitter handle in the name of Rajasthan Police Helpdesk and around 34,000 'Police Mitra' have been made under a new scheme.

Highlighting the Congress government's works and achievements, the governor said that farm-loan waiver, Indira Rasoi scheme, industrial development, one-stop shop, social welfare schemes, women empowerment and water conservation scheme have helped people immensely.

He said the development of basic amenities like drinking water, electricity, roads, education and medicine and expansion of schemes like Ayushman Bharat, Mahatma Gandhi Rajasthan Health Insurance have given new energy to the general public.

Elaborating on Rajasthan's COVID-19 management, he said the state's capacity has increased to 70,000 RT-PCR test per day while arrangement of 140 dedicated COVID-19 hospitals and health centers, more than 43,000 isolation beds, 1,899 ventilators, 3,170 ICU beds were made.

He said that a mass awareness movement against coronavirus was started in October. The governor mentioned that a law was enacted for compulsory wearing of face masks and free facemasks were distributed.

The governor said that free medicines schemes have proved extremely useful in handling the pandemic. Under the scheme, 713 different types of medicines are being made available free of cost.

A new tourism policy, m-sand policy, recruitment of youths in the last two years were among other points which the governor spoke about in his address.

Poonia, who interrupted the speech continuously, also shouted 'Andolan Jivi (professional protesters) Jindabad', in reference to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's recent comment in Parliament.

Poonia continued the sloganeering, despite requests by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Shanti Dhariwal, Chief Whip Mahesh Joshi, Deputy Chief Whip Mahendra Chaudhary and Revenue Minister Harish Chaudhary, After the governor's address, the house was adjourned briefly for his departure.

When the house reassembled, speaker CP Joshi read out obituary references. The house passed condolences to the persons of eminence, including former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Motilal Vora, former Bihar governor Buta Singh and former Goa governor Mridula Sinha, who passed away recently.

Apart from 21 individuals, the House also paid homage to the victims of the glacier burst in Uttarakhand's Chamoli, of the bus tragedies in Jaipur and Jalore districts, as also to the labourers who died after being run over by a truck in Gujarat's Surat while sleeping on the footpath. PTI SDA TIR TIR