Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Rights of State .... New Chapter in Center-State Relations : Vanam Jwala Narasimha Rao

Rights of State
New Chapter in Center-State Relations
Vanam Jwala Narasimha Rao
On Sunday the 16th April 2017, when the Telangana Backward Classes, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Reservation of Seats in Educational Institutions and of Appointments or Posts in the Services under the State) Bill, 2017, was passed in the Telangana State Legislative Assembly and Council, it was a historic moment. Simultaneously, yet another historic event has also been unfolded, by way of the firm resolve of Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao asserting the rights of the State and opening up a new chapter.

It may not be out of context to recall here, the PM Narendra Modi statement while he was Gujarat CM, on the 2012 Republic Day that the Center's “systematic onslaught on the federal structure” is causing concern. He said then that, “It is high time the Center realizes that giving to the states what rightfully belongs to them will not weaken the Center. The states must co-ordinate with the Union Government and not remain subservient to it. Co-operative and not coercive federalism must be the norm in our country”.

 Perhaps it is with the same courage and fervor CM KCR confessed in more than several words his strategy towards preparing the ground work for getting the approval of the enhanced reservation quota for the Muslim Minorities in the form of BC-E category as well as that of Scheduled Tribes. During his interventions in the Assembly debate, the CM has categorically said that, “I am not going to beg! I am going to fight! I will mention it in the Niti Aayog meeting. I will approach the Apex Court if needed.”

The CM cited the examples of five states in the country, including Tamil Nadu, which are implementing more than 50% quota. He said the Supreme Court has allowed more than 50% quota under special circumstances, which, he claimed, also prevail in Telangana. The “Quantifiable” and “Impeccable” data that has been mentioned by the Apex Court in its judgment for increasing of percentage of reservations by any state is prudently applicable in case of Telangana according to CM.

The CM said, “The Center should also allow the States to take decisions on certain important policy matters like the reservations based on each state’s requirement and population as well as other ground realities. In a vibrant and matured democracy like ours, the Center should allow the State’s to take a call. The situation now prevailing in the country is vastly different from that of 1947 when the country attained independence. We have made our Constitution 70 years ago. Now there is an increase in population, more awareness and more opportunities. People are demanding more and more. If we want our country to progress and move forward, leave the reservations issue to the respective states. When we fought against injustices and discrimination meted out to Telangana everyone supported us. Unity in diversity is our principle. Decisions should be taken accordingly or else there will be clashes and movements”. 

In this context, he mentioned about the SC Categorization issue, which had broad support from the people in the Telangana State. CM said that: “It may not be an issue in UP but in Telangana it is a big issue. Such issues should be left to the each state government to take a decision. The center should respect our decision. Parties may change at the Center but the Central government is a continuous entity. Tamil Nadu Passed the Bill during the UPA regime and NDA were left with no option except to continue with it”.

This move clearly brings to the forefront perhaps CM’s desire to convert the issue of reservation hike for the Muslims into a national debate and if needed to take along with him the national leaders like Mulayam Singh Yadav of Samajwadi Party and Mayavathi of the BSP. According to Newspaper reports, midway through the Assembly debate on the bill CM closeted with available TRS Party Parliament Members and asked them to hold preliminary meetings with national leaders and prepare the ground for his meeting with them during his next visit to New Delhi. 

As they saying go, ambition should be made of unyielding substance when it comes to helping the needy. This ambition is in abundance with the CM who has taken an historical decision to come to the rescue of the poor and the neglected sectors in the society. Be it fertiliser subsidy of Rs 4000 per acre, total loan waiver and free power supply to farmers, pensions for the single women, Beedi workers, financial assistance to the pregnant women and KCR Kits to the mother and child, or enhancing the reservation quotas to the BC-E Categories and STs…. All these historical and first of its kind in the country policy decisions have one aim in common, all round happiness and prosperity in the Telangana state and its people.

Bold and commendable leader the CM is, on Sunday he himself has piloted and introduced the historic Bill in the Special Session of the Telangana state Legislature, enhancing the quota for BC-E category from 4% to 12% and ST reservation from 6% to 10%. While the Congress and MIM supported the bill, the BJP opposed it. CM in opening brief said that the quota is being enhanced to fulfill one of the major election promises that his party had made. He said due procedure was followed and would be followed to implement the enhanced quota. KCR also mentioned about the necessity to increase the quota for Scheduled Castes by 1% to take it to 16%, which would in proportionate to the SC population in Telangana. Similarly, he said the quota for the Backward Classes would also be enhanced and the BC Commission has already been assigned the task to conduct a comprehensive study on the socio-economic status of BC communities and come up with recommendations to increase the quota.

The Chief Minister expressed confidence of overcoming all legal hurdles to implement the enhanced quota, which touched 62% as against the 50% ceiling set by the Supreme Court as per judgment in Indira Sahanee’s case.

The BJP’s strategy in the Assembly went awry after the Chief Minister intervened in the Council to read out media reports of Modi’s statement made in BJP’s national executive meeting in Bhubaneswar. “It is sheer good coincidence that the PM’s remark should come when a historic debate is on in the Council. PM Modi talked about the backwardness among the Muslims and he also talked about the inclusive growth. This gives me hope that the Centre accepts out bill,” KCR said and added that the way was now clear after the Prime Minister’s observations. “At least you should support the Bill in the wake of Prime Minister’s remarks,” Rao advised BJP.

In all, the Sunday Special session of the State Legislative Assembly and Council which passed the enhanced quota bill for the BC-E and STs, proved that CM KCR has the political will to implement policies that are beneficial to the people in the State. One of the quotes for a true leader is “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” This amply defines CM KCR. What else can be a proof than a letter written by former minister, famous Kapu community leader Mudragada Padmanabham to CM KCR praising him over the passing of the enhanced quota bill and commending him as the true leader of the people? End 

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