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Kerala Governor's address to Assembly replete with adverse remarks against Union government

Notable among his remarks was the charge that central agencies were overstepping their constitutional brief and hampering development in the state.

Published: 08th January 2021 02:25 PM  |   Last Updated: 08th January 2021 02:58 PM   |  A+A-

Kerala governor, Arif Mohammad Khan

Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. (File Photo | BP deepu, EPS)

By Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The address of Governor Arif Mohammed Khan on the first day of the 22nd session of the 14th Legislative Assembly had numerous references that were highly critical of the Union government, notable among them being the charge that central agencies were overstepping their constitutional brief and hampering development in the state.
       
"Actions of certain central government agencies have overstepped the constitutional contours and are impeding the development activities and flagship programmes being undertaken by the state," Khan said.
       
This was seen as an indirect reference to the probe by CBI and other central agencies against the state's ambitious projects such as Life Mission. The Governor said actions of central agencies have had a demoralising effect on honest and hardworking officers.
      
The farm bills enacted recently by Parliament also came in for criticism in the Governor's policy address. Khan said a spate of central legislations have been noted for their abridgement of the rights of the states. "The agrarian laws will undermine regulated markets, result in eventual demise of minimum support price and tilt the balance of bargaining power definitively in favour of corporate middlemen," he said. The references come days after the state legislature passed an unanimous resolution against the farm laws.
      
The Centre's withdrawal of import duty and regional trade agreements have proved calamitous for the state's commercial crops, the Governor observed. "Kerala has to be unitedly vigilant against any further regional trade agreements that undermine our agriculture and also persuade the Centre to provide at least partial support to our rubber growers," he said.
      
The Governor also said the Union government's response to the economic collapse due to the COVID-19 pandemic was inadequate in terms of its expenditure for relief and healthcare. "The reluctance to pay the GST compensation in full created an avoidable controversy during the crisis," Khan said.
      
The Centre's increase of special excise duty on petroleum products has led to fuel price rise and inflation, the Governor said in his policy address. "The special excise duties which are being continuously hiked do not form part of the divisible pool of taxes shareable with the states," the Governor said.
      
The policy address also reminded that when apprehensions were raised regarding the consequences of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019, the state took the lead in alleviating fears among large sections of society. The Governor's remarks offered a reminder of the state assembly passing a resolution against the CAA in 2019.



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