Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh today stressed the need for greater cooperation between central and the state governments so that any differences can be swiftly resolved.
Addressing the 12th meeting of the standing committee of Inter-State Council (ISC) here, he said a number of steps have been taken in recent years by the central government to promote cooperative federalism.
Singh said it is important for everyone to promote the spirit of cooperation with greater zeal and expressed satisfaction over the deliberations held today in a “harmonious and congenial” atmosphere for arriving at consensus on complex issues.
The home minister said the standing committee of the Inter-State Council is being periodically convened to lend speed and purpose to the process of harmonising Centre-state relations.
Singh said Volumes-I & II of the Punchhi Commission’s report on Centre-state relations were discussed during the eleventh meeting of the standing committee in April this year and Volumes-VI and VII will be discussed during the next meeting.
The Punchhi Commission was set up by the government under the chairmanship of Justice (Retd) Madan Mohan Punchhi, former Chief Justice of India, in 2005 to look into issues of Centre-state relations keeping in view the changes in the polity and economy of India since the Sarkaria Commission. It submitted its report in 2010 containing 273 recommendations in 7 volumes.
Singh said the recommendations of the standing committee on Punchhi Commission’s report will then be placed before the Inter-State Council, headed by the Prime Minister. The subjects discussed at the meeting included matters related to financial transfers from the Centre to the states, Goods and Services Tax, structure and devolution of functions to local bodies and district planning.
Special provisions for Fifth and Sixth Scheduled Areas, maintenance of communal harmony, deployment of central forces, migration issues, police reforms, criminal justice system and other internal security issues were also deliberated. The Standing Committee at its meeting considered 118 recommendations contained in Volumes-III, IV and V and finalised its recommendations.
Those who attended the meeting include Union Ministers of finance Arun Jaitley, social justice and empowerment Thaawar Chand Gehlot; chief ministers Raman Singh (Chhattisgarh), Naveen Patnaik (Odisha), Vasundhara Raje Scindia (Rajasthan) and Manik Sarkar (Tripura). Representatives of 30 Union ministries and departments and seven state governments were also present to assist the committee in its deliberations.