NITI Aayog: CMs of non-BJP ruled states ask Centre not to force its decisions

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New Delhi: Chief ministers of some non-BJP ruled states on Sunday asked the Centre not to "force" its policies but to strengthen cooperative federalism and also sought a five-year extension for the compensation paid to states for revenue shortfall due to GST implementation.

Issues related to Minimum Support Price(MSP) of crops, support to states in dealing with natural disasters, crop insurance and Kisan credit cards, irrigation facilities, revision of royalty rates for minerals, the National Education Policy, etc were also raised by the chief ministers at the meeting of the NITI Aayog's Governing Council chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee emphasised that the Centre should look into the demands of the state governments "more seriously", according to official sources.

No policies should be forced on state governments and they should not be pressured to implement the National Education Policy (NEP), she said at the meeting and called for "greater cooperation" between the Centre and the states.

Speaking in the same vein, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the Centre should not go against the federal structure of the Constitution and legislation on subjects listed in its concurrent list should be carried out in consultation with the states.

Vijayan said the central government should refrain from making laws on matters in the State list of the Constitution.

Asking the Centre "not to challenge" federalism, Vijayan said steps should be taken to raise Kerala's credit limit as it has not yet recovered from the economic problems caused by COVID-19.

He also drew the attention of the council to the various GST related issues and said there needs to be a review of the decision to impose the tax on essential items.

He also requested that the GST compensation to the states be continued for another five years.

Vijayan further said the southern State has entrusted matters related to panchayats and municipalities, mentioned in the 11th and 12th Schedules of the Constitution, to the local self-governing bodies as part of its initiative to decentralise power.

Therefore, the Centre should consider this aspect also when distributing the consolidated funds to states, he said. Vijayan also spoke on the need for a legal solution to the Supreme Court's direction to maintain a one-km wide eco-sensitive zone (ESZ).

The other issues he touched upon in his speech were the increase in allocation of funds under PMAY for urban and rural projects, timely completion of national highway development, approval of Kerala's air-rail projects, providing technical and financial support to improve coastal protection and reviewing the cut in kerosene quota as the same was adversely affecting fishermen.

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