Six states including Rajasthan sign Renukaji Dam project agreement

Union Water Resources Minister Nitin Gadkari and six Yamuna basin states, namely Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Delhi, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh on 11th January 2019 signed an agreement for construction of Renukaji Dam Multi-Purpose Project. The 148-meter-high Renukaji dam would come up in Himachal Pradesh’s Sirmour district at a cost of Rs 4,596.76 crore. The central government will contribute Rs 3,892.83 crore, or 90% of the cost of the irrigation and drinking water component of the project, while the rest will come from the states. 
The project is proposed to be executed by Himachal Pradesh Power Corporation Ltd. The live storage of the Renukaji Multi-Purpose Project is 0.404 million acre-foot and it would ensure supply of 23 cubic metres per second water to the basin states. The project will also generate 40 MW of power and the Delhi government has agreed to fund 90% of the cost of the power plant.  The Central government has so far released Rs 446.96 crore for this project. Among states, Delhi has released Rs 214.84 crore and Haryana, Rs 25 crore.
The important features of the project are:

  • Renukaji Dam Multi-Purpose Project is a storage project on the Giri river which is tributary of the Yamuna at Sirmour district of Himachal.
  • A 148 m-high rock-filled dam would be constructed across the river Giri.
  • The project also involves the generation of 40 MW of power during peak flow to be executed by Himachal Pradesh Power Corporation Ltd (HPPCL).
  • The project would increase by the river flow about 110 per cent which will be used to meet the drinking water needs of Delhi and the other Yamuna basin states up to some extent in the lean period.
  • The share of stored water among the states will be as follows,  Haryana-47.8 per cent; Uttar Pradesh/ Uttarakhand-33.65 per cent; Himachal-3.15 per cent; Rajasthan-9.3 per cent and NCT of Delhi: 6.04 per cent.
  • The Central government will bear 90 per cent of the cost of irrigation/drinking water component, and the balance cost will be borne by the states.

Rajasthan Govt remove education criteria for Panchayat Elections

Rajasthan government has abolished the condition of a minimum educational qualification to contest local body elections in Panchayat Raj such as Sarpanch, Panch and Panchayat Samiti elections. The cabinet also decided on holding the election of mayors and chairman’s in corporations through the direct system instead of the indirect method introduced by the previous government.
As per the Rajasthan Panchayati Raj Amendment Bill 2015, Candidates were:

  • Required to have passed Class X for contesting municipal elections, Class VIII for contesting panchayat polls for the post of a sarpanch, and Class X for contesting zila parishad or panchayat samiti elections.
  • Construction of toilets in their homes as mandatory for contesting polls to the panchayati raj institutions in the state.
  • Even Haryana had passed a similar law mandating minimum education qualification for those contesting in Panchayat Raj Institutions. The constitutional validity of this law of Haryana was questioned in the Supreme Court.