Saturday, June 2, 2018

Telangana asserts its rights in federal spirit : Vanam Jwala Narasimha Rao


Telangana asserts its rights in federal spirit
Vanam Jwala Narasimha Rao
The Hans India (03-06-2018)

For Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao, maintaining cordial relations with the center and at the same time ascertaining state’s rights when it comes to upholding its self-respect has been a challenge and CM consistently adhered to this formula. Whatever that is required for the state has been asked and demanded for and in the process, got the approvals and sanctions for many of its proposals. There were specific instances when KCR had to be vocal and rise the voice. For instance in 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, 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. CM categorically mentioned in the House 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.”

It may be mentioned here that as CM said in the Assembly, the Centre 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 Centre 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. 


With reference to relations with center and to further elaborate couple of things on the concept of cooperative federalism may be mentioned. India is the world’s largest democracy with a federal structure and is supposed to accommodate numerous facets of country’s political system with great flexibility within the broad framework of cooperative federalism. Whether this is happening in its letter and spirit is a debatable issue.

While participating in the world economic meet in China two years ago CM strongly defended the federal structure of India. He said that in India states have a major role to play and realizing this aspect, the Government of India has delegated more powers and funds to the states. In place of the earlier Planning Commission an organization called NITI Ayog consisting of all the Chief Ministers of all the states with Prime Minister as its Chairman has come into existence referred as Team India. With Prime Minister as Chairman and CMs as members, all states together need to plan the development of country and the states’ development as well. In a federal structure like the one India, states shall have a major role to play.

However, in November last year while participating in a discussion on minorities’ welfare in the Legislative Assembly, CM reiterated that it was time the Centre reviewed its stand on accommodating States’ requirements. For taking forward the country in an integrated manner, the Government of India must transfer to the States several of the schemes and subjects that are under its hold. Peoples’ desires, ambitions and demands are on the increase and, therefore, more decentralization is the need of the hour. Keeping in view the social backwardness, the percentage of reservations in the State to minorities, STs and SCs must be enhanced. The Union government should either accept this decision and include it in the 9th Schedule or reject it so that the doors of the Supreme Court could be knocked. In the Assembly CM hinted at agitation in the Parliament by TRS MPs to secure their demand.

KCR Government however, is committed to cooperative fiscal federalism. States have matured enough, and they are able to set their own priorities and fulfil the aspirations of people better. CM is of the firm conviction that strong States make a strong nation and that the development of the nation lies in the States. It is a welcome change in the stance of the Union government to replace a Centre-to-State one-way flow of policy by a genuine and continuing partnership with the States. Telangana and the Government have also supported the replacement of Planning Commission by NITI Aayog with a mandate to promote cooperative federalism and to evolve a shared vision of national development priorities with the active involvement of States. While the States are now relatively free to set their priorities, their active involvement in the formulation of national policies is yet to take concrete shape. There are also few incidents where the NITI Aayog has acted more as an agent of the Centre. However, over a time this institution may emerge as a major agent in promoting and sustaining cooperative federalism in the country.

Telangana Government engagement with the Union government is issue based without any ideological trappings. Telangana was the first State to have extended support to Centre's demonetization and the introduction of GST keeping in view the long run benefits of these measures to the nation. No doubt, there are few differences with the Centre, which are not uncommon in a country of the size of India with large diversities. These differences relate to provision of reservations to Muslims in educational institutions and public employment and enhancement of reservations to SCs and STs. Then there are other issues regarding fulfilment of assurance of support in accordance with the provisions of the AP Reorganization Act, 2014.

Leveraging on Transition for Transformation
The Government started its journey slowly but steadily and has become economically very sound state. For nearly six decades, Telangana remained neglected despite its significant share in revenue collections and potential. Telangana Government’s journey so far has been very challenging and taxing. It was like crossing the river by feeling the stones when it charted its own model of development based on the felt needs of its people. But it has been able to carry on with the onerous journey with the active support and participation of people. The journey so far has been rewarding. Telangana is in the process of a major transition from a shackled economy to that of an economy which is being nurtured back to fulfill the long pending just needs of its people. Therefore, the growth prospects of Telangana cannot be defined by its past, nor can they be defined by the present. Because of the numerous initiatives taken by the Government, the growth prospects are very bright going by the performance of the State economy and the expansion of the growth possibilities. The reorganization of the districts will create new growth centers around the new districts, which will further contribute to the growth momentum of economy.

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