New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi promises to render more funds to states with greater power resources for utilization. He offered to transfer some of the 66 centrally sponsored schemes, for which Rs 3,38,562 crore was provided in 2014-15, to states. A sub-group of Chief Ministers would be set up under NITI Aayog to look into rationalization of these 66 schemes and recommend which ones “to continue, which to transfer to states, and which to cut down”.
“We will move away from ‘one size fits all’ schemes and forge a better match between the schemes and the needs of states,” Modi said in New Delhi February 9. Modi also announced setting up of two more such sub-groups — one for skill development and creation of jobs within states and the other to create an institutional framework to make ‘Swachh Bharat (Clean India)’ a continuous initiative. Identifying poverty elimination as the biggest challenge, he said the new body, which replaced the long-standing socialist era plan body Planning Commission, will forge a model of “co-operative and competitive federalism”.The Prime Minister, Jaitley said, also highlighted that the economic activity really is to take place in states and therefore states have an important role to play.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee skipped the meet, but Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Manjhi, who is facing a political turmoil back home, was present. States like Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh demanded more funds for states, while Kerala sought greater flexibility in central allocations. Those who attended the meeting included Akhilesh Yadav (Uttar Pradesh), Tarun Gogoi (Assam), Parkash Singh Badal, O Panneerselvam (Tamil Nadu), Oommen Chandy (Kerala), Virbhadra Singh (Himachal Pradesh) and N Chandrababu Naidu (Andhra Pradesh), as well as Chief Ministers from BJP-ruled states like Gujarat and Chhattisgarh.