THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has shot off a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying that the “unilateral” decision to scrap the Planning Commission has left behind unanswered questions and urged him to take the states into confidence when adopting major policy decisions.
Chandy has posed eight questions concerning the future of Centre-state relations in a scenario devoid of the Planning Commission: One, what would be the status of the 12th Five-Year Plan which has the approval of the National Development Council? Two, what would be the status of the Annual Plan, 2014-15, which is presently under the consideration of the Planning Commission “and on which there is no clarity at present”? Three, who will decide the allocation of budget resources between the Central Ministries and the State Government?
His fourth poser was on whether the Centre had a concrete plan to allow states to determine their own priorities and formulate their own schemes and projects. Five, the Planning Commission had diverted resources under the Centrally-sponsored schemes to the state plan, which hiked the Central assistance to state. Does the Centre intend to empower the states to formulate and implement schemes according to their priorities and objectives?
Six, how will the distinction between developmental and non-developmental expenditure be maintained in the absence of plan/non-plan present structure? Seven, what is the new process envisaged for the allocation of funds between developmental and non-developmental and revenue and capital expenditure? And eight, will there be changes in the annual plan format as states begin work on annual plans for the next year around this time of the year?
In his letter Chandy said: “As you know, the State Governments have a direct interface with the commission on plan-related matters. The new body, whatever it will be called, will probably entail fundamental changes in the structure of Centre-state financial relations. Hence many questions arise.”
Briefing the media on the CM’s letter, Cultural Affairs Minister K C Joseph said that the PM had announced no alternative measures. “That’s a matter of concern for the state. It is unfortunate that the matter was not discussed with the states,” he said. According to him, spending by various departments so far have only touched approximately 10 per cent. The state had lost two months owing to the Lok Sabha elections, he said.