The 57th edition of National Development Council turned out to be a venue for non-Congress chief ministers, particularly from the BJP ruled states, to attack the UPA government for its faulty policies and discrimination, while distributing funds.
While the strongest attack against the Centre came from Gujarat CM Narendra Modi, Tamil Nadu CM Jayalalitha and West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee (whose written speech was placed on record), other non-Congress CMs raised their state specific demands.
Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chauhan highlighted the contentious issues like GST, NCTC, NIA Bill, food security Bill and FDI in retail, to raise the issue of ‘Centre-state’ relations. “It is being widely felt that there is a conscious and constant increase in the tendency of the central government to encroach upon the subject matters, which have been traditionally in the domain of the state government,” he said.
While Chouhan welcomed the direct cash transfer, his counterpart Chattisgarh CM Raman Singh opposed it. Singh said inordinate delay in decision making and complicated procedures for statutory clearances were hurting the country’s economy growth and investor sentiment. “Investments in power sector are falling, as coal linkage and pricing issues are yet to be satisfactorily resolved. Mining activities have come to a standstill, in the absence of a streamlined regulatory and environmental framework. Road projects are confronting multiple issues, including land acquisition problems as well as financing constraints which require creative solutions,” noted the Chattisgarh CM.
Bihar CM Nitish Kumar repeated his demand for special category. Jharkhand CM Arjun Munda too made a pitch for granting a special status to the tribal state along with a central package.
Uttar Pradesh CM Akhilesh Yadav said that the Centre should consult states, while devising key schemes. “The decline in central assistance would adversely affect the developmental programmes of the states. This is a cause of serious concern,” he siad. Orissa CM Navin Pattnaik said that mineral rich states have not been able to reap full benefits of their endowments because of distortions in and delayed implementation of mineral royalty policies.