CM to push for more funds; seek solutions to vexing issues

Chief Minister Jayalalithaa is expected to present a new wish-list with many pending demands on behalf of the State to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.  

Fresh from her “historic” victory in the Assembly elections, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa is expected to present a new wish-list with many pending demands on behalf of the State to Prime Minister Narendra Modi when she meets him in New Delhi on Tuesday.

While the BJP badly wants the AIADMK’s support in the Rajya Sabha for the passage of crucial Bills and its leaders are talking of a “possible alliance”, the regional party’s senior leaders term it as a “routine meeting” and are unwilling to attach any political significance to it.

Admitting that the two leaders enjoy a “close friendship” developed over the years, an AIADMK spokesperson said the party will continue to play the role of a “constructive opposition” in New Delhi. “The question of an alliance with the BJP doesn’t arise now. With the Assembly elections over, there is no urgency to enter into an alliance with any party,” he points out.

Noting that the Chief Minister, while meeting Mr. Modi in 2014 after he assumed office, had maintained that the issue of formal association of her party with the NDA did not arise, another AIADMK senior leader said that there is no change in the party’s political stance in New Delhi.

With the announcement of phased prohibition and the implementation of the seventh pay commission recommendations likely to eat into the State’s revenue significantly, the Chief Minister will seek for more funds for the State, official sources said. The Chief Minister had presented a memorandum twice, once in 2014 in New Delhi and again in 2015 when Mr. Modi called on her at the Poes Garden residence here.

Ms. Jayalalithaa is likely to present another one detailing the State’s demands like the need to immediately constitute the Cauvery Management Board and Cauvery River Regulatory Authority to implement the final award of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal. The issue of frequent arrest of Tamil Nadu fishermen by the Sri Lankan navy and the release of seven life convicts in the former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi assassination case are likely to be part of the memorandum, official sources said.

Support for GST

The potential conflict area could be the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill. While the BJP is hoping to get the AIADMK support to see through the GST Bill in the Rajya Sabha, Tamil Nadu has been opposing the Bill on various grounds as it will have an impact on the fiscal autonomy of the States and cause a huge revenue loss of around Rs. 9,270 crore to the State exchequer annually.

In her memorandum to the Prime Minister last year, Ms. Jayalalithaa had strongly objected to the setting up of a GST Council and demanded that petroleum and petroleum products be kept outside the purview of GST in view of the revenue impact. She had urged the Centre to strive for a broad consensus on important issues like compensation period and methodology, revenue- neutral rates, clarity on dual administrative control and other things including the loss of revenue.

“The Chief Minister had made several suggestions. She had also pointed out how the State lost out in VAT reimbursement. Unless the Centre’s compensation is significant and amendments are made to the GST Bill as per her suggestions, Tamil Nadu, a manufacturing State with high export base, stands to lose heavily,” says a party senior, indicating that the Chief Minister will be keen to protect the interests of Tamil Nadu in every issue.

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Printable version | Oct 22, 2021 4:33:44 PM |

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