PM calls for cooperative federalism

Addressing a governing council meeting of the Niti Aayog, the Centre’s policy think tank, Modi also asked the states to reduce the compliance burden on the public, defended the reforms in the agriculture sector and asked for reduction in the import of edible oil worth billions of dollars.
PM Narendra Modi. (File photo)
PM Narendra Modi. (File photo)
Published on Feb 21, 2021 01:12 AM IST
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By, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday called for “synergy” in the Union and state budgets, taking “competitive, cooperative federalism” down to the district-level and said that a better understanding between the Centre and the states in their policy framework was very important for the country’s development.

Addressing a governing council meeting of the Niti Aayog, the Centre’s policy think tank, Modi also asked the states to reduce the compliance burden on the public, defended the reforms in the agriculture sector and asked for reduction in the import of edible oil worth billions of dollars.

The PM maintained that India’s self-reliance (atma-nirbharta) will benefit from Centre-state synergy. Asking the states to take “full benefit” of the new performance-linked incentives that have been announced for the manufacturing sector and the cut in corporate tax rates, Modi pointed out the states have a 40% share in the National Infrastructure Pipeline announced in the budget. “Therefore, it is imperative that the states and the Centre jointly synergise their budgets, make plans, and set priorities,” he said.

The presentation of the Union budget has been advanced from the earlier schedule in March to February 1 since 2017. Modi referred to the calendar that helps early planning and commencement of work, and said, “Now the central government has pre-poned its budget a month earlier. There are three to four weeks between the state budget and the Union budget. If the budget of the states is formed in the light of the budget of the Centre, then together they move in one direction.”

The PM said he would like to see the budget of the states discussed in this direction. “States whose budget is yet to come, they can do this work on priority. Along with the Union budget, the state budget is equally important in speeding up development and making the states self-sufficient,” he said.

The meeting also saw the PM defend the new agriculture laws once again. While the protests against the laws are still on, Modi said, “Reforms are very important in the farm sector to make sure our farmers get finance, better infrastructure and modern technology.” He added that even as agriculture has immense capabilities, the truth is that despite being called an agricultural country, “today we bring about 65-70 thousand crores of edible oil from outside. We can stop this. Money can go to our farmers’ account. This farmer is entitled to our money. But for this, we have to make our plans like that,” while pointing out how the import of pulses had reduced considerably.

The PM referred to the abolition of 1,500 archaic laws and simplifying other processes, saying, “There are thousands of compliance requirements that now apply to common people, which can be eliminated. We have technology. There is no need for asking people to furnish the same things time and again. Let us remove this compliance burden on the people. This is also important for ease of living.”

Expanding the idea of “healthy”, competitive, cooperative federalism, the PM said that businesses, MSMEs and start-ups need to be strengthened. Pointing out every state has its own merit and that each district boasts of its own talent, the PM added, “We can see different potentials. The products of hundreds of districts are shortlisted and promoted for their value addition, marketing and export. This has just started a healthy competition among the states but it has to be taken forward.”

He said the export performance of a state can be replicated in the district levels to see how we can give special emphasis on this export in every state and every district. “We also have to carry this experiment between districts and blocks. We have to make full use of the resources of the states, we should earnestly take account of the exports from the states every month and increase it,” Modi said.

In the meeting attended by chief ministers and senior officials, the PM referred to several steps taken to reduce poverty and said the use of technology was absolutely essential in improving governance at the grassroot level.

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Monday, June 27, 2022