CHENNAI: Welcoming the move to abolish the Planning Commission, Chief Minister O Panneerselvam on Sunday demanded that chief ministers be given representation in the new body to be formed in its place.
The views of the states should be heard at different levels in the hierarchy of the organization to make planning a federally empowered function with active participation of the states, he said addressing the meeting of chief ministers at New Delhi. “My Beloved Leader Puratchi Thalaivi Amma has already called for the greatest proportion if not the entire fund flow from the Centre to the states must be on the basis of the recommendations of the Constitutionally mandated Finance Commission,” he said.
The Centre should share at least 50 per cent of its aggregate resources with the states under Article 270 based on the recommendations of the Finance Commission. A formula based sharing of 50 per cent of the Centre’s tax revenues would not only appropriately balance the expenditure needs of the states and the Centre, but also ensure a predictable, non-discretionary and non-discriminatory flow of funds to the states, he reasoned.
The CM urged the Centre to effect transfer of cash to the bank accounts of beneficiaries of various schemes only through the State governments as this would be an administratively sound practice, given the complexities in different schemes and varying Central and State shares, and in keeping with the spirit of federalism, which forms the backdrop to these discussions. Tamil Nadu had already adopted the mechanism of Direct Cash Transfer, through bank accounts to beneficiaries under schemes which involve conditional cash transfers, including scholarships, maternity benefits and social security pensions on its own initiative, he said. He also opposed any move to monetize and transfer in cash the subsidy element under the Public Distribution System, including kerosene, and fertilizers, where the concern was not just the quantum of subsidy, but more importantly, access to and timely availability of commodities.
The proposed Council of Chief Ministers should be used to discuss issues concerning the nation. The discussion could focus primarily on subjects covered in the Concurrent List and certain issues that find place both in the Union and State Lists of the Constitution. For instance, issues such as Inter-State sharing of river waters by developing the National River Water Grid could be fruitfully discussed and a way forward found in the Council of Chief Ministers, Panneerselvam said.
Investors decide on the location of their industry not on the basis of a licence issued by a Central Ministry, but on the basis of where quality public services and infrastructure and other services were available, he added.