BJP chief ministers on Sunday backed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s move to create a new forum to replace the Planning Commission, but also raised objections over centrally sponsored schemes and the method of providing grants.
Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan said 65% of the state’s total budget of `54,000 crore goes into implementing centrally sponsored schemes and the state is left with just `20,000 crore to fund its own priorities. “A change in needed in the system to provide funds to the state for centrally sponsored schemes,” he argued. He favoured the scrapping of five year plans saying some goals like social objectives, infrastructure development need long term planning, while others have to be achieved in a short span of time.
Chhattisgarh too favoured decentralisation of the five year plan, other annual schemes and demanded the new forum should be given constitutional status. CM Raman Singh expressed his reservation over the number of central schemes and said there is a gap between the needs of the states and level of development. In some cases, he argued, national level programmes can be prepared on the basis of the common needs of states. But they should be flexible so states can make changes while implementing them.
Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje said the states deserve more say in “planning, devolution of funds and deciding on priorities”. She backed the idea of a forum for the amicable resolution of Centre-state, interstate issues within the Constitution’s framework.
Devendra Fadnavis, CM of Maharashtra, said the plan panel could be replaced with the National Development and Reform Commission.