Prime Minister Narendra Modi today asked states to focus on intelligence sharing which will help the country stay “alert” and “updated” in countering internal security challenges.
Addressing the Inter-State Council meeting, convened after a gap of 10 years, the Prime Minister told the Chief Ministers that “we should focus on how we can make our country prepared to counter challenges to our internal security”.
Modi said internal security cannot be strengthened until and unless the states and the Centre focus on sharing intelligence.
“We have to remain alert and updated always,” he said.
Chief Ministers of all states, Lieutenant Governors of Union Territories and 17 Union Ministers are members of the Inter-State Council.
For the first time, Modi was interacting with all Chief Ministers on a single platform ever since he assumed the charge two years ago.
The Prime Minister said the meeting of the Council would deliberate on internal security challenges and how to counter them and how states the states and the Centre can cooperate.
“With close cooperation, we will not only strengthen the Centre-State relations but make a better future for the citizens,” he said.
Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Akhilesh Yadav, belonging to Samajwadi Party, and Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah of Congress did not participate in the meeting.
Mehbooba Mufti, Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, which is witnessing turmoil following violent protests after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani did not participate in the meeting. Mehbooba belongs to PDP.
The Prime Minister said the nation can progress only if the Union and state governments walk shoulder to shoulder.
“It would be difficult for any Government to successfully implement a scheme on its own. Therefore, provision of adequate financial resources is as important as the responsibility for implementation,” he said.
The Prime Minister said there are only a few occasions when the leadership of the Centre and the States, assembles together.
“This forum of cooperative federalism is the perfect setting to deliberate on the interests of the people, address their problems, and take collective and concrete decisions. It highlights the vision of the makers of our Constitution.
Modi said Inter-State Council is an inter-governmental forum that can be used for evolving policy as well as ensuring its implementation.
“The more we are able to forge consensus on these vital issues, the better we shall be able to tackle them. In doing so, we shall not only strengthen the spirit of cooperative federalism and Centre-State relations, but also secure a better future for our citizens,” he said.
The Inter-State Council is the most significant platform for strengthening Centre-State and Inter-State relations. There has been a long hiatus since the last meeting in 2006.
The Prime Minister asked the states to increasingly use this forum as an effective instrument to strengthen democracy, society and the polity.
He said the Inter State Council provides an opportunity for exchange of views in an extremely free and frank manner.
“I am sure you will share your thoughts and suggestions on all the agenda items. These will be of tremendous value,” he said.
Modi appreciated the efforts of Home Minister Rajnath Singh for restarting the process of dialogue between the states and the Centre over the last one year, saying increased dialogue and connect has culminated in this gathering today.
The Prime Minister noted that with the acceptance of the 14th Finance Commission recommendations, the States’ share in central taxes has increased from 32 per cent to 42 per cent.
This means that states now have greater financial resources to utilise in accordance with their requirements.
“I am happy to share that the total amount received by states from the Centre during 2015-16 is 21 per cent higher than the amount received in 2014-15.
Modi said Panchayats and Urban Local Bodies will receive Rs 2,87,000 crore during the period of the 14th Finance Commission, which is substantially higher than last time.
The rights of states have been kept in mind, even in revenue received from the auction of natural resources, he stressed.
“Auctions of coal blocks will yield 3.35 lakh crore rupees to States in the years to come. Auctions of other mines will yield an additional 18,000 crore rupees to states,” he said.
The Prime Minister said that through amendments to CAMPA Act (The Compensatory Afforestation Fund Bill), the central government was making attempt to free up about Rs 40,000 crore lying idle in banks for disbursal to states.
The central government also wishes to share with states, the amount that is being saved as a result of transparency being introduced in the system.
Modi said another important area of discussion in the Inter State Council is education.
He said India’s greatest asset is its youth as more than 30 crore children are currently of school-going age and hence, the country has the potential to provide the world with skilled manpower for many years to come.
“The Centre and the States must work together to provide our children an enabling environment in which they can develop their skills and prepare themselves for today’s needs,” he said.
The Prime Minister said the best way of improving the standard of education among children is to make them aware of the purpose of education.
“Merely going to school is not education. Education should generate curiosity among children. It should teach them how to attain and enhance knowledge. It should motivate them to continuously keep learning throughout their lives.
“Given the kind of efficiency and ability that is required in the economy of the 21st century, it is our responsibility to ensure that our youth are equipped with at least some skill-sets. We have to prepare our youth to think logically, think out of the box, and work creatively,” he said.
Referring to the Aadhaar card, Modi said the passage of Aadhaar Act, 2016 enables the government to use Aadhaar for Direct Cash Transfers for subsidy and other services.
“As on date, 102 crore Aadhaar cards have been distributed in our country of 128 crore people. 79 per cent of our people now have Aadhaar cards. Among adults, 96 per cent people have Aadhaar cards. With your support, we shall connect every citizen of the country with an Aadhaar card by the year-end,” he said.
The Prime Minister said Chandigarh has been declared as a kerosene-free zone recently and now, the central government has launched a scheme, under which, if there is a reduction in the consumption of kerosene by a state, the Centre will disburse 75 per cent of the resultant savings in subsidy, as grant to that state.
He also praised the Congress-ruled Karnataka government for moving swiftly on this initiative and sending its proposal to the Petroleum Ministry.
“This has been accepted and the grant has been disbursed to the state government. If all states decide to reduce kerosene consumption by 25 per cent, and actually do so, they can receive about 1600 crore rupees as grant this year,” he said. PTI ACB standard of education among children is to make them aware of the purpose of education.