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