PM Modi chairs inter-state council meet, says states are more financially empowered now - Firstpost
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PM Modi chairs inter-state council meet, says states are more financially empowered now

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday chaired the Inter-State Council meeting, held after a hiatus of 10 years along with Home Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and Karnataka Chief Minister Siddharamiah gave the meeting a skip, reported The Indian Express.

According to a Business Standard report, the agenda of the meet was the MM Punchhi report on division of administrative and other policy formulation powers.

Modi asked all the states to focus on intelligence sharing, which will help the country stay “alert” and “updated” in countering internal security challenges.

He also quoted Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who said “for a big nation like India, debate, deliberation and discussion affects policies.”

According to Modi, the states have never been as financially empowered as they are now. “With the acceptance of the 14th Finance Commission recommendations, the States’ share in central taxes has increased from 32 per cent to 42 per cent. This means that States now have greater financial resources to utilize in accordance with their requirements. I am happy to share that the total amount received by States from the Centre during 2015-16 is 21 per cent higher than the amount received in 2014-15. Similarly, Panchayats and Urban Local Bodies will receive Rs 2.87 lakh crore during the period of the 14th Finance Commission, which is substantially higher than last time,Business Standard quoted him as saying.

He also urged the states to leverage 96% adult enrollment in the Aadhar programme and use it to reduce kerosene consumption.

Modi referred to education and said that both centre and state governments must work together on providing quality primary education.

He also appealed to the state governments to walk “shoulder to shoulder” with the central government. He focused on the need to equip the youth with some skill sets, India Today reported. “We have to prepare our youth to think logically, think out of the box, and work creatively," he said.

Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh requested the centre to grant “green bonus” to hill states in lieu of environmental services provided by them. He also asked the central government to consider the request to provide subsided helicopter services in the state so that all parts of the state remain connected throughout the year.

On the other hand, Chief Minister of Bihar, Nitish Kumar urged that the provisions relating to the appointment of Governor must be clearly defined and transparent.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee criticised the Centre for not even discussing the agenda of the meet. She further said that there is no platform for the states to keep forth their opinion.

She also attacked Modi on his decision to make Aadhar cards compulsory. There are no banks in 800 panchayats and without banks, direct benefit transfer is not possible, she said.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said that in view of the crisis in Arunachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, a proposal should be passed that President's rule should not be imposed in any state until government fails to prove majority in assembly.

Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar suggested that more power and authority should be delegated to states to carry out responsibilities effectively.

With inputs from agencies.

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