New Delhi, June 15 : Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Saturday sought the Centre's help for strengthening Rajasthan's financial management besides demanding the Eastern Rajasthan Canal Project (ERCP) be declared a national project.

Presenting a strong case for his state while addressing the 5th governing council meeting of the NITI Aayog here, Gehlot asked the Centre to release the Union government's share in the centrally-sponsored schemes on time. He also raised several issues related to drinking water, rainwater harvesting, agriculture, drought management and health.

"The state needs Centre's support for strengthening Rajasthan's financial management. The ERCP should be declared a national project as it is expected to supply drinking water to 13 districts and make irrigation water available for an additional 2 lakh hectares of land," Gehlot said, reminding Prime Minister Narendra Modi of his elelction promise.

While addressing a public meeting in Rajasthan ahead of the Lok Sabha elections in the state, Modi had promised to sympathetically consider the ERCP. Gehlot said it was high time Modi fulfilled his promise and approved the project at the earliest.

The Rajasthan Chief Minister also asked the Centre to immediately release the first instalment of Rs 370 crore for the year for the National Rural Drinking Water Project.

He further sought the approval of proposals for external financial aid worth Rs 1,454 crore for Phase 3 of the Rajiv Gandhi Lift Canal Project and urged that SDRF rules be amended for providing agri-input subsidy.

Gehlot also spoke of safeguarding the farmers' interests while demanding immediate removal of the hurdles and discrepancies in the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY).

"The scheme should be suitably amended to give realtime benefits to the farmers," he said.

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