At meeting with MPs, Kerala CM says Centre is undermining federalism
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Monday faulted the BJP-led Union government for muscling legislation on Concurrent list subjects through the Parliament on the sheer weight of numbers and without an informed debate or consultation with States.
Mr. Vijayan was chairing a meeting of MPs ahead of the monsoon session of the Parliament. The Centre’s capricious actions undermined federalism and threatened to relegate States to a subaltern position. The Lakshadweep administration’s move to sever Kerala’s historical, linguistic and cultural links with the archipelago was ominous, he said.
Mr. Vijayan said the Centre had passed laws liberalising the farm sector without any thought for the welfare of marginal farmers. The ill-advised move had ignited massive farmer protests. It had brought the Centre into direct conflict with the States.
Agriculture was a subject on the Concurrent list. Several States were constrained to pass laws to override the adverse consequences of the Central legislation. The Centre encroached on State subjects such as education, ports, airports, power generation, transmission, and health. Kerala has opposed the patently anti-Muslim Citizenship Amendment Act. Any move to implement the law would have long-term consequences for the country.
Mr. Vijayan said the MPs should persuade the Centre to relax the norms for drawing assistance from the National Disaster Response Fund. Moreover, the Centre should amend the Company Act to channel their social responsibility funds to the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund.
The Centre should meet its GST compensation liabilities. The meeting also flagged the Centre’s attempt to deprive States of their taxation powers systematically. The meeting also resolved to press the Centre to complete national highway development schemes and airport and railway development projects within the specified deadline.
The meeting stressed the need for the allocation of more funds for the Kottappuram-Kozhikode inland waterway.
KPCC working president Kodikunnil Suresh, MP, walked out of the online meeting. He had argued against the SilverLine Semi High-Speed Railway project, stating that the ‘quixotic’ scheme would displace more than 25,000 families.
Mr. Vijayan said the LDF had promised SilverLine in its election manifesto. The government would forge ahead with the project that would drastically reduce travel time and open up Kerala’s hinterland for economic development.
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