BJP-run states seek flexibility in central schemes

New Delhi, Dec 27 (IANS) Chief ministers of BJP-run states Thursday accused the UPA government of lacking decisiveness in decision-making and suggested greater flexibility to states in the implementation of central schemes.

In their speeches at the National Development Council meeting, chief ministers of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Karnataka said the central government needed to remove infrastructural bottlenecks to speed up growth.

Talking to reporters after his speech, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi lashed out at the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government for its "lack of leadership and poverty of ideas" and said policy paralysis was causing negative growth.

"The prime minister's remark reflected pessimism," he said, adding that "the central government looks at the Gujarat model of development for ideas".

Modi said the government had downgraded its earlier projection of 9 percent economic growth in the 12th Five-Year Plan to 8.2 percent and was now saying even achieving 8 percent would be hard.

He pressed for a panel for distribution of natural resources on the lines of the finance commission.

He said the central government should have a road map for economic growth and take steps to take advantage of demographic dividend through skill development programmes.

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan said states had different priorities from the centre and should not be asked to partially fund central schemes.

"We do not have so much money. It (the centre) should bear the full cost," Chauhan told reporters.

He said the central government could fund welfare schemes of state governments.

He said the centre was reducing rights of states of collecting taxes and sought larger share in central taxes.

Chauhan also called for better remunerative price for farmers, saying the increase in minimum support price in wheat was inadequate.

He said national highways in Madhya Pradesh were in a state of neglect and his pleas for funds had not yielded any positive response from the road transport ministry.

He also called for supply of coal to power plants at a "determined rate."

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh, in his speech, urge the plan document to be recast in a manner that the design and implementation of all development schemes were left to states while the centre retained the role of providing normative financial support on agreed parameters.

He said critical factors impeding growth and adversely affecting investor sentiment include "uncertainty in sectoral policies, inordinate delay in decision making and complicated and time-consuming procedure for statutory clearances."

He said the move to extend the cash transfer scheme to the public distribution system might not be effective in ensuring food security to the needy.

Karnataka Chief Minister Jagdish Shettar was critical of what he termed as the plan document's "inherent approach to centralise the public resources with government of India in terms of deciding priorities and nature of development schemes".

He said the country's resources should be allocated to the state and central plans equally and "the entire central assistance to states should be untied".

He advocated the "liberalisation of labour laws and an 'exit policy' for boosting the morale of the manufacturing sector".

Other BJP chief ministers including Manohar Parrikar of Goa and Arjun Munda of Jharkhand also spoke.

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