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Sukhbir Badal takes a U-turn

A day after accusing the Centre of “usurping” States’ powers, Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal on Sunday said that under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership, the country is “poised for a genuine federal structure”.

“The Prime Minister has set the ball rolling for fiscal autonomy and it is for States and political parties to forget differences and make use of the political and constitutional opening created by the new atmosphere under the NDA government at the Centre,” Sukhbir Badal said in a statement.

“The country is poised for a genuine federal structure. We have come a long way from times when successive Congress governments engaged in constitutional rampage and reduced States to mere beggars at the door of the Centre. No one appreciates the need for empowering States in fiscal and other matters more than Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Thanks to his long experience as the Chief Minister of Gujarat. Yesterday’s (Inter State Council) meeting was a major step forward in that direction. It should be remembered for laying the foundations for inclusive development of the country,” the Deputy Chief Minister said.

The Centre asking the States as to which model of development suited them best will result in more inclusive growth, he said.

Mr Badal had yesterday used terms like “constitutional rampage” and reducing states to “beggars” to target the Centre without clarifying whether he meant the Modi government or its predecessors.

Calling for a review of subjects under the Union, State and Concurrent lists, he said it has been 60 years those were formulated. “Today much water has flown down the river and times have changed. Therefore, the subjects that were put in the Union List or State List or Concurrent List need to be reviewed,” he added.

Denouncing previous Congress governments at the Centre, he said: “The founding fathers of the Indian Constitution had given the country a draft which was close to the spirit of federalism, but successive Congress governments violated its spirit by riding roughshod over the aspirations of the states.

“Under Modi, this trend of discrimination is set to be changed. He is not only aware of the problems faced by the States, but also best equipped to come out with solutions.”

He thanked the Prime Minister and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for the recent increase in devolution of funds from the Centre to states from 32 per cent to 42 per cent, but said “this could be increased to 50 per cent to enable States to achieve more.”
video:ZEE Punjab Haryana Himachal

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