The tendency to usurp the powers and authority of the states through open and clandestine ways by the Centre was on rise at a scale never seen before,Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh today said.
“There was a wide consensus,cutting across party lines that the state governments need to be given much greater operational freedom in choosing and financing development priorities of their people,” said Badal.
He called for setting up of “genuinely federal structure” in the country with more financial and political powers to the states.
Badal was addressing 26th meeting of Northern Zonal Council here.
“The tendency of the Centre has been to usurp,through open and clandestine ways,the powers and authority of the states already ensured by the Constitution.
“This tendency was on the rise at a scale never seen before,” he said.
In certain cases,this violation of the Constitution by the Centre has been nothing short of “flagrant”,with the Centre wilfully legislating on issues that fall in the States purview,he said.
The Chief Minister pointed out the most dangerous exhibition of this tendency was seen in how the Centre had been quietly shifting subjects from the State’s List to the Concurrent List and from the Concurrent to the Union List.
“Such violations of the federal principle would not only further weaken the states but would also create unnecessary complications,hampering smooth relations between the Centre and the states,” he said.
Pleading for rewriting the formula for devolution of Central funds,the Chief Minister said the states needed more funds for their primary developmental needs.
He said,”States should be given at least 50 per cent share in taxes collected from them. The allocation of funds to the states should in fact be made growth dependent,so as to encourage the states and subjects to perform better.”
The chief minister appealed to Centre for strengthening federalism by increasing devolution of Central funds to from the present 32 to 50 per cent,along with change in the devolution criteria so that it was not detrimental to the interests of the relatively more developed states.