July 27, 2016
Special Mention by Ahamed Hassan Imran: Reduced Central funding of schemes is against the spirit of cooperative federalism
The Central Government often talks of cooperative federalism, however, the actions of the Centre over the past two years, have not reflected this and States continue to receive step-motherly treatment from the Union Government.
On the one hand, the Government of India increased the devolution to the States from 32% to 42%, as per the recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission. On the other hand, there have been large cuts in budgetary allocations to key Ministries and reductions in the funding of Centrally Sponsored Schemes. This has affected the development initiatives of the States.
The Centre has withdrawn its financial support from 39 major schemes like the National e-Governance Action Plan, police modernisation and the Backward Regions Grant Fund. The Government has also scaled back its share in 58 key welfare schemes like Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana, National Food Security Mission, Sarva Siksha Abhiyan, among others.
Sir, With the abolition of the Planning Commission, States have lost an important platform to voice their concerns and raise matters of public importance. Now, only select issues are raised at sub-groups of the Niti Aayog at the behest of the Centre. Often, the Centre takes unilateral decisions, choosing to ignore the recommendations of the Niti Aayog, as was evident in the restructuring of funding pattern for universal sanitation programme on December 1, 2015.
Sir, The Government must explain how State Governments are to carry on with these welfare programmes, and ensure development in the States without adequate funds. Increased devolution of tax funds will not help if they are countered by additional funding cuts across the board.
Thank you, Sir.