New Delhi: The Constitution elaborately defines power distribution between the Centre and state governments, providing enough space for both, and there are suitable mechanisms to resolve disputes, if any, among them, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said on Wednesday.
Addressing a conference on 'Cooperative Federalism: National Perspectives and International Experience', Mr Singh said the Constitution provides for an inter-dependent arrangement, where the Centre and the states collectively aspire and work towards the welfare of the people.
"Centre-State or inter-state issues, if any, are resolved by various mechanisms put in place including inter- governmental agencies and fora like inter-state council, zonal councils, National Development Council, NITI Aayog, Governors' conference and Chief Ministers' conference," he said.
The Home Minister said all these, as integral part of the government machinery, are playing a vital role in the harmonious working of a federal structure.
Both the Sarkaria Commission and the National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution (NCRWC) have laid considerable emphasis on the issue of Union-State relations, he said.
Mr Singh said the conference aims at enriching the national pursuit for cooperative federalism with successful case studies practised in other parts of the world.
The Home Minister said India has unity in diversity which is duly substantiated by successful running of its cohesive federal structure.
"Federalism is not new to India. Though in its primitive form, ancient kingdoms and empires had established this system in order to rule vast tracts under their jurisdiction," he said.
Mr Singh said framers of the Constitution, blending the best features of all important types of federation, gave India a 'union model of federalism'.
The Home Minister said the central government has taken some important policy initiatives to strengthen the spirit of cooperative federalism.
"Foremost is the increase in the share of divisible tax-pool from 32 per cent to 42 per cent as per recommendation of the 14th Finance Commission," he said.
The Home Minister said the central government has also raised the non-statutory share from 21 per cent to 26 per cent and about 57.6 per cent of the gross tax receipts are to be transferred to the states.
These imply that more than half of the total receipts (including non-tax receipts) of the central government will be transferred to the states.
The larger transfers to the states are accompanied by the significant reduction in the central schemes, and rationalisation of remaining schemes to give greater flexibility and control to the states, he said.
Mr Singh said another policy initiative is the establishment of the National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog.
By inclusion of the Chief Ministers of the states, and their regular interactions with the Union government for policy formulation, would help facilitate better Union-State policy coordination and coherence in formulation and design of schemes.
The Home Minister said another policy initiative is the urgency placed by the current government for implementing GST (Goods and Services Tax).
It will have far reaching implications and will help unify the whole country as a market and lead to uniformity in taxes on goods and services.
Besides, the successful completion of all Zonal Council meetings including meeting of Chief Ministers of the North Eastern Region in 2015 and reconstitution of the Inter-State Council in December, 2015 are instances which buttress my claim about this government's abiding faith in cooperative federalism, he said.
The Home Minister said for a stronger and greater India, the Centre and states have to work together. The realisation of the goal of faster economic growth coupled with distributive justice is not possible unless everyone works together in a spirit of cooperation.
"For this the road map has to be laid out and we need to strengthen the institutions and mechanisms that will enable better Centre-State relations," he said....