PTR meets Nirmala; seeks cabinet nod to avail loan for CMRL phase II

Among the issues discussed was the pending approval of the union cabinet for the documentation and loan agreements of the JICA funded phase II of Chennai Metro Rail Project.
Nirmala Sitharaman; Palanivel Thiaga Rajan
Nirmala Sitharaman; Palanivel Thiaga RajanTwitter

CHENNAI: State finance minister Palanivel Thiaga Rajan on Saturday met union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman and submitted a ‘wishlist’ of the state’s demands, including hasty approval of the union cabinet for availing loan for the second phase of Chennai Metro Rail project.

Talking to media persons after the meeting at the national capital, Thiaga Rajan said that apart from the delay in the conduct of the ensuing GST council meeting in Madurai, he had discussed various schemes of the state with the union finance minister and a few others of the union government yesterday.

Among the issues discussed was the pending approval of the union cabinet for the documentation and loan agreements of the JICA funded phase II of Chennai Metro Rail Project.

Stating that Tamil Nadu government had deposited its share of funds last year for executing the project as a state funded project till availing funds from JICA, Thiaga Rajan said that the state government provided clarification a couple of days ago, as was sought by the Centre to expedite the sanctioning of the loan. He also quoted the finance minister Sitharaman as telling him that the union government would grant approval before the end of the month and expedite the sanctioning of the loan for the speedy execution of the metro rail project.

Informing that the union government had released Rs 3,500 crore to the state on Friday under the 50-year interest free loan scheme for states, Thiaga Rajan said that they had submitted applications for different projects for different departments. Of the sum, Rs 184 crore would be for the Optic Fibre Cable project and Rs 3,263 crore for various highway projects.

On the ensuing GST council meeting in Madurai, he said that the next GST council meeting was scheduled for August in Madurai, but the meeting has not happened even after the end of September. “As per GST Council rules, the meeting should take place every three months. I discussed the GST council meeting and the preparation of the report of the Group of Ministers (GoM) for the same with the union finance minister. I gave three or four reasons (for holding the meeting). She also agreed. The report of the GoM is delaying the meeting. I requested that at least the usual meeting conducted every three months must be conducted, ” he added.

Asked if the delay was due to the meeting being planned in Tamil Nadu, he categorically said, “No.”

The minister also added that he also raised three or four fundamental long-term requests, including sharing of Income tax and EPFO details with the state for Data Purity project undertaken by the state government.

Reasoning that the data was found to be essential for the loan waiver and other schemes implemented already, he said, “The data helps us learn who is at the bottom of the pyramid. I had announced it in the budget too. Karnataka has been provided income tax data. We have also asked for it. (Centre) Informed that it would be done (provided) soon.”

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