Centre should not siphon off funds of state’s revenues in form of debt interest: Sugata Bose
Meet renowned scholar and historian Sugata Bose who is representing the 16th Lok Sabha as a Trinamool Congress candidate after winning the Jadavpur constituency in West bengal. On Wednesday he gave his maiden speech which was admired by prime minister Narendra Modi outside the lower house.
‘I have never interacted with Modi before, but yes yesterday he acknowledges what I said in my speech,’ Bose told Millennium Post.
When asked on what are the areas that need immediate attention by the central government, he said, ‘I think poverty eradication, education and healthcare should be given more thought rather than making only paper policies. There is a need for a concrete steps.’
While hinting towards the BJP and his vision on poverty eradication, Bose said, ‘They have come to power with a resounding victory, also, with support from a few billionaires in the country. We have to wait and watch on what will reflect in their budget on eradicating poverty. Speech or action, we have to see.’
On the context of state-centre relationship, he said, ‘I am not only saying more power to the states but also a question of giving states a stake in the centre in decision making. There should be a layer of sovereign system to encourage the federal spirit, which sadly I personally feel has been diluted.’
He said, ‘The centre should not siphon off the bulk of funds of a state’s revenues in the form of debt interest. I feel it is a violation of the federal spirit of the country. You need to enunciate a policy, which will allow states to keep their revenue. There should be a sense of belonging.’
Stressing that sanitation is a biggest challenge, he said, ‘Public health is a biggest failure. There is a crisis and we do need lot of engagement especially when it comes to the health of children and mothers. In education, we want skilled young people to come forward and the government should also give it a serious thought, since it’s there in the (BJP’s) manifesto.’
When asked whether he will agree to be a part of any government’s body, he said, ‘I will play a role of a constructive opposition. If they will ask for any advice or suggestion, I am always there for the nation.’
Bose was born in Kolkata and after studying at the Presidency College he completed his PhD at the University of Cambridge before being named a Fellow of St Catharine’s College at Cambridge. He is the great nephew of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and grandson of freedom fighter Sarat Chandra Bose. His mother Krishna Bose was also a former Trinamool Congress parliamentarian.
Since 2007, Bose has been a member of Nalanda Mentor Group, which seeks to establish an international university on the site of the ancient University of Nalanda in Bihar. He has taught and worked in the United States since the mid-1980s. His fields of study are South Asian and Indian Ocean-history.
Presently, he is the Gardiner Chair of Oceanic History and Affairs at Harvard University