September 26, 2013
Mamata Banerjee is right in demanding more power for states: Planning Commission member Arun Maira
Ahead of the Lok Sabha election scheduled next year, Planning Commission member Arun Maira has supported the non-Congress Chief Ministers over the distribution of taxes between the Centre and state government.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has been the frontrunner in demanding the power to collect central taxes and using the amount to finance the state`s development projects. Others like Punjab, Haryana and Tripura are demanding a higher share of central taxes.
“Mamata Banerjee is right in demanding more power for states,“ Maira said on Wednesday in Kolkata. “It can`t be top down approach any more where the Centre dictate terms.“
Of the total taxes collected by the Central Government, just about 32% is being distributed among states. West Bengal receives 2.5% of it.
“The money does not come from anyone`s pocket. The funds which the Centre allocates to the state governments are collected as taxes from the states,“ she had been saying after failing to get a three-year moratorium on the state`s over Rs 2 lakh crore debt burden.
It is widely anticipated that no single party would get a majority in the next Parliamentary election and therefore a collation government would be imminent with the support of regional party chiefs. Mamata Banerjee of Trinamool Congress in West Bengal, Jayalalithaa of AIDMK in Tamil Nadu, Nitish Kumar of JD(U) in Bihar are expected to play major roles in the formation of the next Union government.
Maira said that the role of the Planning Commission needs to evolve to capture the changing dynamics of the centre-state relationship under a coalition structure of the central government and since the regional parties become more powerful like never before.
“Planning Commission`s process of working with states is outdated,“ Maira said at a seminar organised by ICRIER, FICCI and Germany`s political foundation KAS on India`s regulatory framework and the 12th Five Year Plan.
Source: The Economic Times