Strong Centre-State relations essential for development: FM Sitharaman

Sitharaman mentioned managing the growing urbanisation to create stronger communities as one of the areas in which the Centre and states’ coordination will be essential

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Finance minister | Nirmala Sitharaman | BJP

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday underlined the need for strengthening relations between the Centre and states to achieve developmental aspirations.

Sitharaman said there are three pillars that will take India to its 100 years a transition to green energy; soft and hard infrastructure; and a healthy and educated population.

These three pillars will be riveted to a ground made of the federal structure, she said.

“The most important spirit which will come is the Centre and state working together. India after all is a large state, so many provinces, each of which have their own Assemblies into which elected people are sitting and governing that particular region, and that region has its autonomy to do so many different things with the language, with the culture that is unique to them,” Sitharaman said, speaking at a summit organised by PIC.

She added that the three pillars to hold up for India at 100 will have to be grounded in this spirit of Centre-state relations.

“These three pillars cannot float. They will have to be riveted to the ground and the riveting will happen in this space,” she added.

“The strengthening of the ground means that the Centre and states will have to work together to have these three pillars held in such firmness that India at 100 will be able to strongly build on its strength,” the finance minister said.

The comments come at a time when some states, especially those ruled by non-BJP parties, seem to be evoking some concerns about federalism. Telangana Chief Minister K C Rao has also sought a debate on the need for a new Constitution itself and has started to meet chief ministers of other states to rally support.

Some states frequently express reservations about the promised GST payouts from the Centre or aspects like the terms of reference of the finance commission which divides the revenue between the Centre and the states, to complain about a weakening of the structures.

There is also a frequent complaint, especially from those down south, about attempts at creating a cultural homogeneity with what they allege as a push for Hindi.

Sitharaman mentioned managing the growing urbanisation to create stronger communities as one of the areas in which the Centre and states’ coordination will be essential.

Meanwhile, at a time when inequality is being increasingly flagged as a concern, Sitharaman also mentioned “income disparities” in India as among the aspects that make policymaking “different” in India which was seen in the pandemic response as well.

“You are looking at a diverse country, you are looking at a country where development is not comparable in all the regions. You are clearly looking at a country where income disparity is a serious issue, where governments will also have to every now and then tailor make their policies,” she said.

Apart from our own people, India also looks after the concerns of neighbours like Afghanistan as it did till an elected government was in place, and also of African countries, Sitharaman noted.

Meanwhile, years and decades of efforts into the pharma industry helped us achieve great feats in the pandemic like on the vaccine front, she said, adding that this happened despite “predatory” policies of pharma majors across the world.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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