CHANDIGARH: Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Sunday said the formula for distribution of resources between the Centre and states should be drastically reversed.
Attending the Chief Ministers’ meeting that Prime Minister Narendra Modi organised in Delhi to discuss the structure, scope and role of the new body that would replace the Planning Commission, Badal said, the states must get a 50 per cent share of the Central taxes and non-tax revenue, instead of the present 32 per cent, and these funds should be given in a untied manner, without prior conditionalities.
Currently, the share of untied grants to the states constitute only 15 per cent of the plan funds and the remaining 85 per cent was determined by the centre. These should be completely reversed, Badal said, with the states getting 85 per cent as untied funds.
The Punjab CM welcomed the proposed Council of Chief Ministers headed by the Prime Minister to replace the Planning Commission for making the goal of cooperative federalism a reality.
“Federalism is the only way to ensure speedy development to make the nation a true economic superpower and world leader. States are like limbs of the country’s body politic. Strong limbs mean a strong body. Strong states mean a strong India,” he said. Strongly advocating the need to replace the Planning Commission of India (PCI), he suggested that the proposed council could be named National and States Development Council (NSDC), which shall have Constitutional status and statutory powers so as to eliminate any discretionary powers.
Apart from taking policies decisions, Badal said, the council should also deliberate the country’s proposed stand before forums such as the World Trade Organisation (relating to agriculture etc) and SAARC (inter-country border trade etc), which directly affects the states.
He also opined that an executive body comprising advisors, experts and specialists should be put in place to assist the council. Keeping in view the federal structure, the members of the executive body should be drawn from the states, the Punjab Chief Minister said. Badal also suggested the establishment of “Regional Councils” consisting of the Chief Ministers of similarly placed states and chaired by the Prime Minister to converge and speed up the process of development.
He also called for restructuring of the State Planning Boards to bring them in tune with changed socio-economic environment. The Prime Minister, Badal said, should hold meetings with the Chief Minister of each state once in a quarter to resolve important issues.