Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal advocated empowering states during his address at the Republic Day function at Guru Nanak Stadium on Sunday.
He said with the passage of time the Centre was gradually encroaching upon rights of states preserved in the state list of the constitution, like agriculture, health and education, thereby drifting away from the basic essence of federalism to unitary character.
He said, “The condition of states is pitiable as they have the rights to only transfer a district agriculture officer from one place to other, but it has no control over significant issues related to the welfare of farmers, such as fixation of rates of agriculture inputs and corresponding Minimum Support Price (MSP) of the crops.”
Chief minister called upon the Centre to recast the Indian Constitution to ensure implementation of the spirit of federalism as envisaged by Dr BR Ambedkar. He lamented the soul and spirit of Indian constitution.
Shaking the conscious of policy makers at the helms of affairs in national capital, he asked them to shun away the decade-long practice of arbitrarily doling grants to its favourites at the cost of discriminating others like Punjab. He said, “It is high time to wake up from deep slumber to sanction central grants liberally, thereby respecting the very sanctity of Indian constitution.”
Targeting UPA government, the CM said, Centre's discriminatory attitude has once again deprived Punjab of its due share of industrial concessions being extended for another term of five years to the neighbouring states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarkhand.
He categorically said we were not against giving these concessions to neighbours, but at the same time they were equally concerned for sanctioning these incentives to Punjab, where industry was its lifeline.
Earlier, the chief minister took salute from the parade comprising contingents of Punjab Police, Home Guard, Punjab Armed Poilce, Police Band, NCC, Bharat Scouts and Guides led by deputy superintendents of police (DSP) Amandeep Singh and Jasbir Singh.
Chief minister also gave away tricycles to physically disabled, and sewing machines to the needy women. A cultural programme by the school children, besides a mass PT show by tiny tots regaled the audience.
Later, the chief minister also inaugurated a series of tableaux depicting overall development of the state, especially the district administration. He honoured ten renowned personalities in recognition to their outstanding performance in their respective fields on the occasion.
CM's adviser on national affairs and media Harcharan Bains, adviser Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal, chairman District Planning Committee Hira Singh Gabria, special principal secretary Gurkirat Kirpal Singh, besides several eminent personalities from leaders accompanied him.