Modi govt eroded federal autonomy: Congress


The Congress on Wednesday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government of eroding federal autonomy and alleged that its claim of increased devolution of funds to states had turned out to be a maha jumla. Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said the BJPs promise of ensuring fiscal autonomy of states had been trashed by the government. He said the states share in the central taxes was only 33 percent and not 42 percent, what the Modi government had promised. The BJP used rosy terms like Team India and cooperative federalism ahead of the 2014 general elections, but five years down the line, it had completely eroded federal autonomy and independence of states, he said. Time and again, the Modi government boasted that they are implementing the 14th Finance Commission, which increased the devolution of funds from 32 percent to 42 percent. But this has turned out to be a Maha Jumla, the Congress spokesperson told reporters. In 2014 manifesto, the BJP also promised to ensure fiscal autonomy of states, but that has been thrown into the dustbin, Singhvi said. The Modi government claimed 42 percent devolution towards states, but not even in one year of its term it has achieved that threshold. It has never breached the 35 percent mark, he claimed. Singhvi said Rathin Roy, a member of the Prime Ministers Economic Advisory Council, had punctured the Centres tall claims of fiscal mismanagement towards states. He said the Modi governments so called increased devolution turned out to be a cruel joke. The Centre cut the number of centrally sponsored schemes (CSS) from 70 to just 27 and also cut contribution in many CSS from 75 percent to 50 percent, he alleged. This effectively means states are getting less as their share of tax revenue and a pittance for the share of centrally sponsored schemes, Singhvi said. To add insult to injury, the Modi government, which has exclusive usage of revenue collected from cess and surcharges, is sitting on a bounty of 3.04 trillion (last fiscal 2018-19) while states are reeling under the fiscal pressure of funding their own schemes as well as the ones the Modi government abandoned, he added. The Congress spokesperson said the fraud on federalism was a result of the Modi governments decision to raise cess and surcharges exponentially, especially on petroleum products, while pretending to accept the Finance Commission recommendations and upholding federalism. None of that bounty is to go to the states, even though there has been a constant demand from states to include cess and surcharges into the divisible pool, he said. Taking a dig at Modi, Singhvi said his government had no jobs and only pakoras to offer to the youth of the country. People of India will never forgive and forget this fakery, he said.

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