Kerala

Kerala CM urges Centre not to pose a challenge to federalism

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. File

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. File | Photo Credit: PTI

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has counselled the Centre against disregarding the principles of federalism.

In a seemingly politically loaded speech at the NITI Aayog’s seventh governing council meeting in New Delhi on Sunday, Mr. Vijayan said, “The Centre should not pose a challenge to federalism”.

Notably, the audience included Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah.

Mr. Vijayan's remarks assumed national political significance in some measure as they came against the backdrop of several non-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-ruled States of different and often opposing political hues accusing the Centre of recurrently infringing on their jurisdictional authority.

Nevertheless, the jury is arguably still out on whether the regional powers would find common political ground against the BJP-ruled Centre on the broader subject of federalism.

Mr. Vijayan also requested the Centre to keep the States in the loop when legislating on subjects in the concurrent list. He also asked the Centre to refrain from making laws on topics in the State list.

The ruling Left Democratic Front has a history of opposing the Centre's perceived anti-federal moves in conjunction with other regional powers.

For one, Mr. Vijayan had backed his Tamil Nadu counterpart M.K. Stalin's strong opposition to the draft Indian Ports Bill. Both governments felt the Bill weakened the State's control over ports and harbours.

The Kerala Assembly had unanimously passed a resolution against the Centre's  Citizenship (Amendment) Act and the controversial farm laws, much to the chagrin of Raj Bhavan.

The Left Democratic Front had also found common cause with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in opposing the Centre's proposal to amend the IAS (Cadre) Rules. The proposed legislation empowered the Centre to post any IAS or IPS officer on central deputation without the respective State's consent.

Kerala had also opposed the proposed Electricity (Amendment) Bill, which the LDF felt would pave the way for profit-motivated private players to enter the power distribution sector and render public utilities such as the Kerala State Electricity Board redundant.

The LDF was also at the forefront of the fight to extend GST compensation for States till 2027. It had also pressed the Centre to allow States to borrow above the limit set by the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act to fund mega infrastructure projects.

Politically, the LDF had blamed the Centre for retarding Kerala's development by withholding consent to forge ahead with the K-Rail (SilverLine) semi-high speed rail project.

It had also accused the Centre of unleashing the Enforcement Directorate against the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board and portrayed it as an attack on fiscal federalism principles. Mr. Vijayan asked the Centre to abide by the tenets of cooperative federalism.


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Printable version | Aug 16, 2022 2:34:01 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/cm-urges-centre-not-to-pose-a-challenge-to-federalism/article65742215.ece