HYDERABAD: Former RBI Governor Dr YV Reddy on Sunday suggested that the Centre should encourage States to sort out inter-state problems like sharing of river waters, rather than getting into them, under the impression that it can solve them. Speaking at a virtual conference on “Centre-State Relations: A former insider’s perspective” organised by Manthan, he said that if the Centre tried to deal with States which were at loggerheads, the problem would never be solved.
“For instance, Telangana and Andhra are squabbling over sharing of river waters. The Centre should encourage them to come to an understanding. If the Centre tries to solve it, it would have two problems to resolve, one with Telangana and the other wi th Andhra Pradesh,” he said, and advised the Centre to act more like a manager or an arbiter than getting into the issues directly. Dr Reddy, while covering a large gamut of issues that keep cropping up in Centre-State relations, referred to the Centre’s latest policy of asking the States to share the burden of providing vaccines to people against Covid- 19, saying when a calamity of this magnitude occurred, it should be the Centre’s responsibility to go to the rescue of the States.
In another context, he said the Centre may have asked the States to share the burden because its own resources were far from satisfactory during the earlier months of Covid-19. He said the Centre should not impose itself on the States’ domain, which would be against the spirit of cooperative federalism. “The people may have given a massive mandate to the BJP since they wanted to have a strong Centre, but in elections to the States, the BJP did not fare so well, which proves that the people knew what the responsibilities of the Centre and the States are and who is better in which role,” he said.
Dr Reddy also underscored the need for systems to be in place so that overlapping of two institutions does not occur. Giving an example, he recalling an incident of how the maid of JK Galbraith had politely turned down US president JF Kennedy when the latter had called Galbraith’s residence and asked his maid to wake him up from sleep to offer him a responsibility in his administration. He said there had to be a permanent mechanism for continuation of a dialogue between the States and the Centre, like the near defunct NDC or ISC.
Centre’s responsibility to rescue
States Dr Reddy, referring to the Centre’s policy of asking the States to share the burden of providing vaccines, said when a calamity of this magnitude occurred, it was the Centre’s responsibility to go to the rescue of the States