Fifteenth Finance Commission Chairperson NK Singh on Tuesday said it was important for Uttar Pradesh to become a $1 trillion economy if Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s goal of making India a $5 trillion economy has to be realised, ANI reported.

Singh met Chief Minister Adityanath along with other members of the panel. The Finance Commission also held talks with representatives of political parties, and urban local bodies, The Indian Express reported. The Bharatiya Janata Party delegation was led by state Vice President JS Rathore. A BJP spokesperson said the delegation requested promotion of religious and cultural tourism, including the development of “Ram Van Gaman Marg” (the route said to have been taken by Ram during his 14-year exile) for tourism.

The BJP also suggested steps to create “smart villages” in order to check migration to cities. It requested funds for tree plantation drives and construction of “mini-secretariats” at the tehsil level. The BJP said the state government had decided to plant 22 crore saplings this year and 25 crore next year.

The Congress delegation was led by former Union minister Salman Khurshid. It told the panek that the state had been unable to utilise the allocated funds under schemes such as Ayushman Bharat, Kisan Samman Nidhi and loan waiver because of its focus on projects that promote Hindutva.

The Congress said the rural economy had slowed down, and requested the commission to focus on financial empowerment of urban and rural bodies. In the April-June quarter, economic growth slowed to 5%, the lowest in six years.

The Samajwadi Party was represented by MP Ravi Verma and state legislator Udaiveer Singh. Singh demanded that farm produce and equipment be excluded from the Goods and Services Tax, increased funds for panchayats and more financial assistance for the health and education sectors.

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