December 27, 2011 admin


CHANDIGARH, DECEMBER 27: A two day Regional Consultation meeting on Centre-State and Inter-State relations being organized by Inter-State Council Secretariat (ISCS), Ministry of Home Affairs in collaboration with Government of Punjab began here today with participating states emphasizing redefining center-state relations with greater fiscal powers to the states.
Welcoming the participating delegates, Punjab Chief Secretary Mr. SC Agrawal said that Punjab always remained the votary of greater autonomy especially in financial matters as the different states having different ground realities need separate planning that too according to the local needs. Describing Punjab as a strategically important state, Mr. Agrawal pointed out that this border state was equally important for international relations also. He also underlined the need to provide level playing field to those states, which were far flung from ports and natural resources. He also advocated the need to initiate coordinated efforts for overall development of adjoining areas as was the case of Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh and Himachal Pradesh. At the onset of the meeting, Mr. Agrawal asked the participating delegates to not to touch long pending and contentious issues rather make suggestions to redress the small but important inter- state issues.
Delivering his keynote address, Dr. Pramod Kumar, Director, IDC and former Chairman, Governance Reforms Commission, Punjab said that after the emergence of coalition government politics some states were getting more than their due while others were suffering at their cost and resultantly states were getting lesser statutory grants. Describing this new trend as ‘bargaining’ federalism, Dr. Kumar pointed out that preferential treatment and liberal funding to certain states was also a major impediment in smooth relations between Centre and states. He said that each central scheme couldn’t be tailor made for all states as every state has its own ground realities e.g. NREGA though a very good scheme but not suitable to the needs of labour deficit states like Punjab. Underling the need for effective fiscal management, he said that each state should be given funds under different centrally sponsored schemes but the states should be given liberty to choose the schemes and alter them to needs of particular area or region. He also lamented that often the Centre passes the buck of failure of its schemes to the states and criticizes the state subsidies while the benefit of its own much touted Rs. 70,000 crore debt waiver scheme couldn’t reach the targeted and suffering peasantry.
On this occasion Mr. P.G. Dhar Chakrabarti, Additional Secretary, ISCS outlined the purpose of the regional meeting.
Later in the afternoon session various presentations were made by the ISCS, Punjab, Rajasthan, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Delhi and Chandigarh UT.

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