Nodal agency to combat human trafficking proposed

Southern states for uniform approach in grant of industrial incentives

Five southern states on Friday agreed to create a nodal agency to combat human trafficking, besides taking forward discussions on having a uniform approach in grant of industrial incentives.

all smiles: Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde (second from right) with Puducherry Chief Minister N Rangaswamy, Karnataka Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy at the 25th South Zonal Council meeting in Bangalore on Friday. dh Photo

At the 25th meeting of the Southern Zonal Council represented by the states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry chaired by Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, it was also decided to set up a special court in one of the states in the region to try cases pertaining to human trafficking.

The meeting, attended by Karnataka Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar and his Andhra Pradesh and Puducherry counterparts Kiran Kumar Reddy and N Rangasamy, resolved that the southern states would share information on human trafficking the way they do on the naxal movement.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalitha had deputed Finance Minister O Panneerselvam and Power Minister N  R Viswanathan, while Kerala Law Minister K M Mani represented his state.

Briefing reporters after the meeting, Shinde said the problem of human trafficking had taken serious dimensions and special measures were required to ensure the protection of women and children.

The Ministry of Women and Child Development, in consultation with the Ministry of Home Affairs, was developing a national portal for tracking missing and found children, he said.

Common incentives

Shinde said all the states had come to a consensus that unethical competition and bargaining by industrial groups should be avoided by having a uniform set of incentives for industries. Earlier in his address, Shettar, who raised the issue, had stressed the need for coordinated and uniform approach in grant of industrial incentives.

“All the states, in order to attract investments, grant various types of incentives to investors. However, there is no uniformity in such schemes and the industries are pitching one state against another to garner liberal incentives far in excess of the investments made by them,” Shettar said.

Shettar suggested that a standing committee comprising finance secretaries and commissioners of commercial taxes of southern states be constituted to recommend common industrial incentives.

The meeting also decided that the five states arrive at a formula on inter-state travel of passenger vehicles run by state transport undertakings. Shettar, in his speech, called for an institutional mechanism on sharing of intelligence on naxal activity in the Western Ghats forest area of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. He also called for following an uniform methodology for survey of  inter-state boundary between Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

Uniform regulation

Shettar highlighted the need for having uniform regulation throughout the country, especially in the southern states, on judicious exploitation and conservation of fish stock. Specifically, there was a need to curb indiscriminate and unscientific capturing of brood stock of cuttle fish and use of high powered engines for fishing vessels.
The next meeting of the Southern Zonal Council will be held in Tamil Nadu.

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