Badal for new Constitution

Badal for new Constitution

Wants 50-50 sharing of tax revenue between Centre and states

Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Tuesday demanded the setting up of a new constituent assembly to frame a fresh Constitution along “genuinely federal” lines.

Winding up the debate on the motion of thanks to the Governor's address in the Punjab Assembly, Badal lamented that the States had been “reduced to the status of beggars” as the meager powers given to states were progressively eroded by the Centre.

The chief minister said the Constitution was not in tune with the requirements of the changing times and as a result the country was not able to fully utilise its potential for development and prosperity. “Shiromani Akali Dal was the first to raise this demand because it is in the interest of the country to grant autonomy to the states”, asserted Badal.

Pleading for recasting of formula for devolution of funds to the state, Badal said: “Strong states mean strong nation”. He demanded that 50 per cent of the revenue collected by the Centre be given to States to carry out development works according to their felt needs.

The chief minister demanded the transfer of Chandigarh and other Punjabi-speaking areas to the State. “Chandigarh is the soul and spirit of Punjab and must be transferred to us without further delay,” he said.

Badal charged the Centre with deliberately opting to not sanction big industries in the state.
“Whatever industry we had in our state was left with no other option except to shift its base to the neighbouring states of Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Jammu & Kashmir due to several concessions and incentives given to the industry, thereby resulting in utter decay of local industry in Punjab,” he said.

He also decried the Congress’s move to capture SGPC by “whipping up passions” over the issue of setting up of a separate Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee in Haryana.

On the issue of National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC), he said the SAD-BJP alliance had vehemently opposed this move which aimed at “usurping” the powers of the state government’s contrary to the spirit of federalism.

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