The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government has turned down the request of Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal for waiving dues of Rs 298 crore on account of deployment of central armed police forces (CAPFs) in the state between 1991 and 2012.
In a letter to the CM, whose party Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) is a constituent of the NDA, Union home minister Rajnath Singh has conveyed the Centre’s inability to exempt the state from payment of charges for deployment of paramilitary forces due to constraints in resources. “The states, except Jammu and Kashmir, North-East and Himachal Pradesh, are required to bear the full charges for deployment of CAPFs.
The Government of India incurs huge expenditure on raising and maintenance of these forces. It is not possible for the ministry to exempt the state from these charges,” he wrote last month, adding that the cost being charged from the states was the bare minimum as compared to the actual expense.
Badal had, in separate letters to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union finance minister Arun Jaitley on June 13 and July 12 last year, respectively, appealed to the Centre to waive these dues, besides raising other issues. “Punjab has been suffering on account of subversive activities at the hands of militants/terrorists, aided by a foreign country.
The state alone cannot face the onslaught of a foreign country with its meager resources,” Badal wrote at the time, citing a previous instance when payment of similar charges was made by the central government against special non-plan assistance given to the state government.
The home ministry has been pressing the Punjab government to pay Rs 298 crore for forces deployed on a specific request by the state. The outstanding dues are on account of deployment of CAPFs such as the Border Security Force (BSF), Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) and Indo-Tibet Border Police (ITBP).
The Centre’s refusal is a setback for the fund-starved Badal regime, which was expecting the NDA government at the Centre to lend it a helping hand. It had earlier too unsuccessfully taken up the issue with the previous Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government by writing to then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on December 12, 2012.
The CM had made that request following a missive from the Centre in July 2011 wherein the home ministry had pressed its claim, asking the Punjab government to work out a “definite time-bound plan” for clearance of the dues. “There is a substantial amount remaining to be paid by your state, which has invited adverse comments from statutory audit.
The option of direct deduction from the reimbursement provided by the central government under various schemes is also available. If no action is taken by the state to clear the arrears of deployment charges, the ministry will have no option but to take action to make recoveries from the grants payable under various schemes,” the home ministry had written to the then state chief secretary.