Recast Constitution, scrap central schemes: Badal

Chandigarh, March 18 (IANS) Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal Monday called for a nationwide political initiative to recast the Constitution along federal lines, scrapping of all central schemes and provisions for direct transfer of 50 percent of central taxes to states.

Winding up the debate on the motion of thanks on the governor’s address in the state assembly, Badal called for an end to the politics of confrontation and starting of an era of political consensus.
Seeking the scrapping of centrally sponsored schemes, which he said were arbitrarily based on the parameters suited to the central government, Badal asked the union government to transfer the funds directly to the states to enable them to formulate schemes.
He asked the central government to desist from usurping the powers vested in states by the Constitution under the state’s list.
“Fixation of agriculture inputs and MSP (minimum support price), upgradation of schools, allocation of funds under the National Rural/Urban Health Mission and allotment of link roads under Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna etc. should be solely left to the states so that they could prioritise these projects according to the felt needs of the people,” he said.
He said that the central government retained 67.5 percent of all the tax collected and merely 32.5 percent was devolved to the states.
Badal said that successive central governments had done injustice to Punjab by not transferring Chandigarh and Punjabi-speaking areas of Haryana to it. He said that Punjab was not being given legitimate share of river waters.