Modi wants regional councils to ensure ‘fiscal autonomy’ of states
In a meeting with the PMO officials on Wednesday, prime minister Narendra Modi instructed them to work on the formation of ‘regional councils’ on a priority basis, which will ensure ‘fiscal autonomy’ of all the states.
‘I would like the official of PMO to consider issues, especially those raised by the states on priority and with sensitivity,’ he reportedly instructed his officials in the meeting while stressing that India can only progress if the states will flourish.
‘India should not be limited to the PMO sitting in Delhi, but will also include chief ministers and other functionaries as equal partners. It will be our responsibility to encourage states to work with the centre. They should be encouraged to raise issues on security, inter-state disputes and inter-regional economic disparities and promoting tourism,’ he said in the meeting.
Modi’s message on ‘empowering states’ was first raised by West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee. She was the first to call for a ‘federal front’ and surprisingly the Prime Minister on today’s meeting too stressed for strengthening the federal structure.
His interest towards the states empowerment has silenced several critics and regional leaders who claimed that if he became the PM then the country will face serious problems in terms of national security and in reviving its economy.
Not the least Modi also discussed giving special status to Union Territories (UTs). He said that its time for the PMO to focus on developing and strengthening the economy of Uts, especially through tourism. ‘Coastal security and Tribal welfare is another area where we have to implement policies carefully with top priority,’ he told in the meeting.
In a significant move he asked his officials to revive the ‘almost defunct’ bodies like ‘National Development Council’ and ‘Inter-State Council’ for promoting foreign trade and commerce in the states through investments in industry and in agriculture.
On the context of North East, Modi has instructed his officials to pay special attention on massive infrastructure development, especially along the Line of Actual Control in Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim.
Already a draft has been prepared by the PM for the former Army Chief VK Singh, who is presently, the minister of Development of North Eastern Region (DONER), on various areas including flood control, water management and employment where immediate attention is required.
He also asked to resolve the people’s grievances on fast track basis through modern technology and effective monitoring system connected to the PMO.