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BADAL CALLS FOR GENUINE FEDERAL STRUCTURE TO MAKE INDIA A POWERFUL COUNTRY IN WORLD
STEP MOTHERLY TREATMENT METED OUT BY UPA TO BJP RULED STATES WOULD NOT BE TOLERATED ANY MORE – NITIN GADKARI
CHANDIGARH JULY 30:
The Punjab Chief Minister Mr. Parkash Singh Badal today "called for the setting up of a genuinely federal structure in the country 'to make India the most advanced and powerful country in the world. I don't understand the logic behind a unitary form of government in a country which is so strongly federal in character compositions."
Mr. Badal said that the Congress-led UPA rulers in Delhi and the earlier Congress governments at the Center had been consistently usurping the powers of the state governments who have to actually address the problems of the people and take development projects forward."
"They have reduced the states to the plight of beggars at their doors, and the price for this arrogant political attitude has to be paid by the country, especially the common man who can have no access to the central government," said Mr. Badal while addressing the “Regional Conference on Policies of UPA - A Threat to Indian Federalism” organized here by the Legal and Legislative cell of Bhartiya Janta Party.
Mr. Badal rubbished the unitary model adopted in the constitution and said "The constitution makers went seriously wrong and ignored even the advice given by Mahatma Gandhi earlier that concentration of powers in one central authority in a multi-layered society like India will be a recipe for failure, pull the country back on development issues and might lead even to violence. But the Congress leaders ignored this advice. As a result, we are struggling about forty to fifty years behind schedule on development."
Mr. Badal said that the massive poverty, illiteracy and unemployment around us was a direct consequence of absence of the genuine 'political and fiscal federalism in the country. "We should learn from the examples set by the USA and Canada who have thrived on federalism as its best role models and have become the most advanced countries in the world," said the Chief Minister.
The Akali stalwart further said that the process of usurping the rights of the states was still on, with subjects from State List being shifted to the Concurrent List, rendering states completely powerless, or through issuance of norms and directives by the center which makes it impossible for the state governments to address problems specific to the needs of their people."
The Chief Minster lamented that although all states had to suffer because of excessive powers with the Centre, "Punjab had been singled out by the Congress governments for injustice and discrimination of the worst kind imaginable, despite the fact that it is the sword arm and the granary of the nation. We are the only state which was denied its right on linguistic reorganization and had to make unprecedented sacrifices to get it: we are the only one among parent states in reorganized units to be denied its Capital, Chandigarh. He said that in addition to the glaring discrimination on devolution of funds, all the formulae for central schemes are tailored in a manner that Punjab government is not able to use even the meager funds allotted to it by the Centre from our truncated share," Mr. Badal said, quoting extensively from the government of India records.
The Chief Minister spoke in a voice choked with deep anguish when he touched upon the tragedy of 1984, the army assault on Sri Harmandar Sahib and the brutal massacre of thousands of innocent Sikhs in Delhi and other Congress ruled states. "Did the people of Punjab and the Sikhs in particular who take pride in being the most patriotic of all deserve this? "
Mr. Badal mentioned that over a period of time, subjects like Education, Family Welfare and Forests which were in the State list have been included in the concurrent list and as such Union Govt. has encroached upon the exclusive domain of the States. He referred to the Right to Education Act which has been enacted by the Centre, but no provision for adequate funds has been made for its implementation thereby putting enormous financial burden on the States.
The Chief Minister also blamed the Centre for undue favour given by the former Railway Ministers from Bihar and West Bengal who have just concentrated in their states by allocating majority of projects..
Citing the examples how Punjab has been discriminated in the Central flagship schemes, Mr. Badal said that the criterion fixed for devolution of funds to states were loaded against the Punjab. He pointed out that Punjab was denied substantial allocation under Pradhan Mantri Gramin Sadak Yojna and Rural electrification since Punjab had already developed a well connected road network and extended electric supply to all its villages long back. Likewise under NREGA, daily wage rate fixed for Punjab was Rs. 123 whereas GoI has approved Rs. 179 for Haryana. Punjab has also been deprived of substantial allocation under Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojna (RKVY) as it has hardly any un-irrigated area.
Mr. Badal also revealed that Punjab had been consistently discriminated against the devolution of Central funds as well as allocation of funds under GoI’s different flagship programs because of its relative prosperity and early economic development. 68% of taxes collected by the Centre were retained by Union and 32% devolved upon the states. Out of 32% as a whole, Punjab gets only 1.38%, which used to be 2.450% in 1972, and has been gradually decreased.
Mr. Badal reiterated his firm commitment to extend full support and cooperation on behalf of the Shiromani Akali Dal to the crusade launched by BJP to bring in the concept of economic or fiscal federalism to strengthen the states, which have been completely destroyed by the UPA led Congress government.
In his address National President of BJP Mr. Nitin Gadkari accused the Centre of misusing investigative agencies like the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to attack states, as well as usurping powers of the state. He said that non Congress states were also put to financial and other discrimination affecting their good governance giving examples of BJP ruled states like Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh besides Punjab where BJP had alliance with SAD. He said that today’s regional conference was a right step in the direction to mobilize public opinion against the anti-people & arbitrary policies of the UPA government to set up a federal structure in the right earnest.
Slamming the role of Governors, Mr. Gadkari said that governors were acting like political agents of the UPA government. He pointed out deliberate attempts were made to negate the plans and programs of the BJP governments. Citing examples, he insisted that several legislations passed by the state Assembly have not been given assent by the governors in non Congress states. He said that governors were neither rejecting nor accepting these legislations thereby diluting the federal structure of the constitution at the behest of UPA.
Prominent amongst others who spoke on the occasion included Chief Minister Himachal Pradesh Prof. Prem Kumar Dhumal, National Secretary, BJP Mr.Bhupinder Yadav, General Secretary BJP Mr. Jagat Parkash Nadda, Mr.Satya Pal Jain and Mr. Raghvender Singh (both Ex-MP). Besides BJP President Punjab unit Mr. Ashwani Sharma and Local Government Minister Mr. Tikshan Sud were also present on the occasion.
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