GST shows strength, resolve of the federal structure, say PM Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said that the Goods and Services Tax (GST) shows the strength and resolve of the federal structure. He gave credit to all Chief Ministers for coming on one platform for this cause, keeping aside ideological and political differences.
Thanking the Chief Ministers, he said consensus on GST will go down in history as a great illustration of cooperative federalism. He said GST reflects the spirit of “One nation, One aspiration, One determination.”
He said the Government, private sector and civil society, all need to work in sync. He noted that NITI was a collaborative federal body whose strength was is in its ideas, rather than in administrative or financial control. He pointed out that the Chief Ministers did not have to come to NITI for approval of budgets or plans. He said NITI Aayog had gone beyond relying on government inputs and taken on board a number of outside specialists, subject experts, and Young Professionals; and States can also contribute to policy formulation. He gave the example of e-NAM, where experiences of States played a key role in the final policy.
Speaking at the third meeting of the Governing Council of NITI Aayog PM Modi urged States to speed up capital expenditure and infrastructure creation. He further called for carrying forward the debate and discussion on simultaneous elections.
The Prime Minister said that “Team India” has once again assembled today to discuss and reflect on ways to prepare India for changing global trends. He said the meeting today would be an opportunity to exchange views on policies and implementation.
PM Modi noted that sub-groups of State Chief Ministers had given vital inputs on subjects such as Centrally Sponsored Schemes, Swachh Bharat, Skill Development and Digital payments. Stressing the importance given to the views of Chief Ministers, he noted that it was the first time Chief Ministers had been asked to recommend the list of Centrally sponsored schemes and the sharing pattern; despite funding constraints, the recommendations were accepted immediately.
PM Modi mentioned that while there has been a 40% increase in overall fund allocation to States between 2014-15 and 2016-17, the percentage of funds tied to central schemes has declined from 40% of the earlier total, to 25% of the enhanced total with a corresponding increase in the untied share.
He said the NITI Aayog is working on a 15 year long term vision, 7 year medium term strategy, and 3 year action agenda. He said this effort needs support of States, and will eventually reflect in benefits to States.