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No discrimination against states, assures PM

Saturday October 22, 2011 10:36:09 PM, IANS

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New Delhi: Faced with criticism of the government meting out step-motherly treatment to non-Congress states, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Saturday assured chief ministers "there was no discrimination" against any state and their concerns over funds and programmes would be adequately addressed during the 12th Five Year Plan.

"If there is a perception of discrimination, it is not based on reality. It is true we tend to provide more support to the poor states but that does not mean we are discriminating against more advanced states," Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said in his closing remarks at the National Development Council (NDC) meet here.

The NDC is the highest decision-making body on matters pertaining to central and state finances and also approves Five Year Plans. The meeting was to discuss the approach to the Twelfth Five Year Plan (2012-13 to 2016-17).

He said the Planning Commission would proceed with finalising the 12th Plan on the broad outlines indicated in the approach paper with modifications emanating from discussions at the NDC meeting.

"We will try to address the demands of the chief ministers in the approach paper to the 12th Five Year Plan," said the prime minister.

Earlier, some chief ministers including Mayawati from Uttar Pradesh, Narendra Modi from Gujarat, Mamata Banerjee from West Bengal and J. Jayalalithaa from Tamil Nadu said the approach paper to the 12th Five Year Plan did not reflect their concerns.

Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, an ally of the United Progressive Alliance government, said "West Bengal needs to be treated differently as its economy is in a shambles".

The chief ministers also attacked the centre on price rise and asked it to increase its share in the centrally-sponsored flagship schemes.

The states said these schemes were leading to resource crunch for their own welfare plans.

Narendra Modi said "inflation poses a great threat to the country's development and rising prices have made life very difficult for people".

He suggested "constant monitoring of availability and prices of essential commodities in an appropriate price band".

Modi also accused the central government of tinkering with the federal structure of the country.

On price rise, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa said the actions of the UPA government have miserably failed and are even counter-productive.

"Price rise is an area where the central policies have failed and are even counter productive," said Jayalalithaa, adding that "price levels of food and fuel have been rising continuously and heaping misery on people".

Asking the centre to be flexible on social welfare schemes, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said: "The legal obligations under the Right to Education (RTE) has no relationship with availability of state finances."

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati said: "While the consumers are suffering because of price rise, economic development is getting affected as entrepreneurs are wary of investing capital."

Pointing at discrimination by the centre among states, Mayawati said while a big state like hers has been allotted only one coal block, that too partially, some smaller states have been allotted more blocks.

"This is not fair. We have requested for six coal blocks," she said.

In his inaugural address at the NDC meet, the prime minister said there was no need for pessimism for the fundamentally-strong Indian economy and the current slowdown was just a short-term phenomenon due ongoing turmoil in the Western world.

"The current slowdown is a matter of concern. But it should be seen as a short term phenomenon, reflecting highly unsettled conditions in the global economy. Growth rates are being revised downwards in all countries," the prime minister said.

He said 9 percent growth for the next five years was certainly feasibly, though difficult, if some concerted action was made at all levels. 


 

 



 

 

 

 

 

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