Centre must address challenges of cooperative federalism: Pinarayi Vijayan

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other Ministers and Chief Ministers of States/UTs at the 7th Governing Council meeting of NITI Aayog at Rashtrapati Bhawan Cultural Centre, in New Delhi, Sunday, Aug 7, 2022. PHOTO: PTI

Thiruvananthapuram/New Delhi: The Centre needs to address challenges of cooperative federalism and legislation on subjects listed in its concurrent list should be carried out in consultation with the states, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said on Sunday.

He said the Central government should refrain from making laws on matters in the State list of the Constitution.

The CM was speaking at the 7th Governing Council meeting of the NITI Aayog, which was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Union Home Minister Amit Shah at the Rashtrapati Bhavan Cultural Centre in Delhi.

Besides telling the Centre not to "challenge" federalism, Vijayan said steps should be taken to raise Kerala's credit limit as it has not yet recovered from the economic problems caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

'Continue GST compensation for 5 more years'

He also drew the attention of the council to the various GST-related issues and said there needs to be a review of the decision to impose the tax on essential items.

He also requested that the GST compensation to the states be continued for another five years.

Vijayan further said Kerala has entrusted matters related to panchayats and municipalities, mentioned in the 11th and 12th schedules of the Constitution, to the local self-governing bodies as part of its initiative to decentralise power.

Therefore, the Centre should consider this aspect also when distributing the consolidated funds to states, he said.

'Legal solution to ESZ'

He also spoke on the need for a legal solution to the Supreme Court's direction to maintain a one-km wide eco-sensitive zone (ESZ).

The apex court's direction in June this year has created a lot of rumblings among those living in the hilly and forest regions of Kerala, leading to the State Assembly unanimously passing a resolution requesting the Centre to exempt inhabited places and agricultural lands in the State while implementing the one-km wide ESZ.

The apex court had, on June 3, directed that each protected forest, including national parks and wildlife sanctuaries, must have an ESZ of one km and banning of mining activities within such parks across the nation.

The apex court had said no permanent structure would be allowed within such zones and said if the local law or other rules provide for an ESZ of more than one km then the earlier provision would continue to apply.

Other issues raised

The other issues he touched upon in his speech were the increase in allocation of funds under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) for urban and rural projects, timely completion of national highway development, early clearance of Kerala's air-rail traffic proposals, and review the cut in kerosene quota as the same was adversely affecting fishermen.

Vijayan also sought technical support and financial assistance from the Centre for manufacturing value-added products from coconut, setting up new processing plants for palm oil production and groundnut production.

He told the council that Kerala's goal in education was increasing student enrolment and improving the quality of teaching imparted and said that universal education cannot be achieved through privatisation.

Vijayan said the state government's K-FON project was aimed at bridging the digital divide in the education sector.

He also drew the council's attention to the achievements of the state in creating a comprehensive model in the coordination of farming, animal husbandry and fisheries and said that the same can be emulated by other states.

(With PTI inputs)

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