With some parties and states voicing concern over the proposed Communal Violence Bill, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday sought to assure them by saying the Centre had no intention to tamper with federal structure of the country which has worked well.
"There has been a lively discussion regarding the contents of the Communal Violence Bill. Concerns have been expressed about encroachment into states’ jurisdiction, against the spirit of federalism," he said in his concluding remarks at the day-long National Integration Council (NIC) meeting in New Delhi.
"Let me assure you that the central government is equally committed to preserving and strengthening the federal framework which has served this country well," Singh told the delegates who included leaders from political parties and chief ministers and senior ministers of states.
He made the remarks after Trinamool Congress and BJP along with chief ministers of NDA-ruled and some non-UPA states voiced opposition to the Communal Violence (Prevention) Bill, arguing it would hurt the federal structure of the country.
Singh said the "richness" of points of view expressed during the day would serve to guide the central government in its quest for fashioning optimal policy and legislative interventions that balance various concerns.
Referring to the point made by several speakers regarding the need to ensure fair and timely enforcement of laws, both by the Centre and states, he said it is "valid and I am sure my ministerial colleagues and the chief ministers would have taken note of the concerns expressed in this regard."