March 17, 2018 3:09:01 am
Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has called for greater autonomy for states in south India to run their economic policies instead of being tied down to central allocations and programmes. In a Facebook post on regional identity and federalism, he has called for allocation of central funds in proportion to revenue contribution from the state. Stressing that emphasis on regional identity and greater autonomy for states does not go against national identity, the CM stated, “Relatively well-developed states like Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra contribute more to central taxes than what they get in return from the Centre. What we get from the Centre comes in the form of the state’s share in devolution of central taxes and grants under centrally sponsored schemes.
“The grants under centrally sponsored schemes come with strings attached. Schemes are designed keeping the entire country in mind and we are forced to implement them and provide our share. We need a system where states receive larger portion of taxes collected from our states and the share of centrally sponsored schemes must go down. The central schemes, if at all needed, need to be flexible so that we can tailor them to our needs.”
Stating that six southern states have historically subsidised the growth of northern states, he posted, “While I recognize the need for correcting regional imbalances, where is the reward for development?”
He called for a mechanism to look at trade and agriculture policies on the lines of the GST Council. “The states need greater autonomy to run their economic policies, borrow internationally as long as they convince the lenders of their creditworthiness, build the infrastructure of their choice without depending too much for licenses from the Centre, and design programs of their choice,’’ he said in the post dated March 15.
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