Puducherry: Accusing the Centre of adopting a different stance while sanctioning grants to Puducherry, Chief Minister V Narayanasamy on Thursday said it could as well treat the Union territory as a “transgender”.
The present “whimsical approach” in treating Puducherry as a ‘State’ for some schemes and as ‘Union Territory’ for others was “helpless,” he said.
Inaugurating a national seminar on ‘Emerging challenges of fiscal federalism in India’ here, the chief minister said, “while for the purpose of GST and other schemes the central government is treating Puducherry as a State and for others as a Union Territory.” “We cannot consequently go this way or the other,” he said adding he would only ask the Centre to treat the Union Territory as a ‘transgender’.
He claimed the Centre was ignoring Puducherry in allocation of grants to support the territorial budget besides cutting down the grant from 30 per cent to 26 per cent.
Referring to ‘obstacles’ faced in implementing free rice scheme, he said, “Lack of Centre’s adequate support and administrative hurdles from Lt Governor had been embarrassing us.” He also pointed out that the compensation on account of implementation of the GST from the Centre was due to Puducherry for August and September.
Narayanasamy aired concern over the central government not including Puducherryas a member of the 15th Central Finance Commission although the newly created Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir had been accommodated as member in it.
The Chief Minister wanted the participants in the seminar to discuss the “practically piquant situation” Puducherry was facing.
Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Issac who presided over the seminar said, “the intervention of Lt Governor Kiran Bedi in the implementation of welfare schemes only shows that there is mockery of democracy in Puducherry.”
“If the Lt Governor is to determine what should be done only makes democracy a mockery,” he said.
Noting that the compensation for States implementing the GST was a constitutional right, Issac said the Centre was only defaulting by not disbursing the amount for August and September.
There was already a serious shortfall in the devolution of taxes by the Centre to the States, he claimed.
Member of Parliament M K Kanimozhi (DMK), in her speech expressed anguish over “best performing and progressive states” being penalised now.
She said, “the big brother attitude and lop sided decisions of the Centre were also injurious.” She alleged GST and demonetisation have caused havoc and several industries in places like Tirupur in Tamil Nadu were closed because of new tax regime.
Tamil Nadu CPI(M) Secretary Balakrishnan pointed out that if there should be continued intervention by a Lt Governor in implementation of cabinet’s decisions in Puducherry, question automatically arises whether there is a need for the post.”
He also charged the present NDA government at the Centre with attempting to do away with multi-cultural and multilingual features of the nation.