Kerala CM Leads Protest in Delhi Against Centre’s ‘Financial Strangulation’ of States
Image Courtesy: Deepak Jha
New Delhi: Led by Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, the Left Democratic Front (LDF) ministers and MLAs began a dharna at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar on Thursday against the BJP-led central government’s “financial strangulation” of the state.
Kerala’s protest comes a day after a ‘Chalo Delhi’ protest led by Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Deputy Chief Minister D K Shivkumar, ministers and Congress MLAs on similar issues.
“We are here to register our protest against the Central government over tax devolution”, said Vijayan, while addressing the gathering in Jantar Mantar. The Chief Minister thanked all Opposition party leaders for their “support”, and reiterated that the Central government had made decisions without “seeking states’ opinion”.
Vijayan said: "We have come together to register our strong protest and preserve the federal structure of India. Today, we are making the beginning of a reunited fight that would herald the dawn of ensuring equal treatment of the states. This fight will also strive to maintain balance in the Centre-State relation. 8th Feb is going to be a red letter day in the history of India."
According to News18, several Opposition leaders had joined the protest, such as DMK leader and former finance minister Palanivel Thiagarajan, National Conference leader Farooq, Abdullah, Indian Union Muslim League leader Abdul Wahab.
Aam Aadmi Party leaders and Delhi and Punjab Chief Ministers, Arvind Kejriwal and Bhagwant Mann, also joined the protest.
Kerala has been advocating better fiscal federalism to ensure that state governments are provided with their rightful share of revenue. It has also approached the Supreme Court against the borrowing limit imposed by the Union government and “violation” of fiscal federalism.
The state government has claimed that the Centre had made a curtailment of Rs 57,400 crore in state receipts in the current fiscal, and the state was not getting its due share from the tax collected by the Centre. Also, the state said it was being deprived of an additional Rs 12,000 crore because of cessation of Goods and Services tax compensation, thereby squeezing a major source of revenue.
Several state governments, mostly non-BJP ruled states, including Karnataka, Punjab, Tamil Nadu have expressed similar concerns over the centralisation policies of the BJP-led Union government and have demanded a fair share of taxes, which is the right of all states.
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